| 11.7°C Dublin

Close

Premium

The Weight of Love: Marriage story explores how we can be haunted by the lives we failed to live

Fiction: The Weight of Love

Hilary Fannin

Doubleday, paperback, 330 pages, €15.99

Close

Wordsmith: Rhythmic and honed, Fannin's writing is full of subtle layers, often operating on more than one level

Wordsmith: Rhythmic and honed, Fannin's writing is full of subtle layers, often operating on more than one level

Wordsmith: Rhythmic and honed, Fannin's writing is full of subtle layers, often operating on more than one level

Hilary Fannin knows how to pay attention. Her weekly columns are wonderfully distilled observations on aging, friendship, disappointment, endurance, hyperconsumption and, occasionally, her flatulent cat. Combining powerful understatement with fresh tumbles of words, she can be empathetic, wry, nuanced or wildly, hilariously incredulous, depending on whether her subject is Gwyneth Paltrow or an anonymous older woman humiliated on a stranger's whim.

A playwright as well as a journalist, Fannin has also written a memoir, Hopscotch, which chronicles a turbulent part of her childhood including the eviction of her family. While her relationship with her extroverted, irresponsible father is at the centre of Hopscotch, her first novel turns the spotlight on mothers, with several of the characters trying and failing to transcend that difficult primary bond.

On the surface, The Weight of Love is about a marriage - a "courteous, twitchy marriage" with complicated and painful roots. Moving back and forth between London in 1995 and Ireland in 2018, Fannin fills in the story of a couple whose love for each other is burdened by the memory of someone else.