The Reconstructionist by Josephine Hart
Coolly and compellingly narrated by a man dedicated to the examination of other people's pasts and the reconstruction of their lives, this is a brilliant, dark and gripping new novel that surpasses even Hart's masterpiece, Damage. A psychiatrist, Jack is divorced and has lost his wife to a more uxorious man. His own past and that of his beautiful, enigmatic sister Kate certainly bear scrutiny. But until he gets a phone call telling him that their family house in Ireland is for sale, he has absorbed himself in the problems of others, delving into their minds while himself remaining on the surface. He has successfully suppressed the anguish of his past, but the present threatens to unravel around him. When he finally returns to the house in Ireland, terrible truths emerge about what happened there years ago in a family tragedy that left indelible marks on those who survived it. The facts have been reconstructed many times, but the shocking truth has not. This is a remarkable novel of startling psychological insight and power, about the reckless quality of exclusive love, about the damage that families do - and try, sometimes dangerously, to undo - and about the way we build our lives from fragments of memory, half-truth, compromise, and desire.