My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Emily Koll is – well – she’s –
She’s brittle, broken. But she’s here.
She’s here after –
(well, after everything she did, after everything that’s been printed about her, after all the words that have been said)
She’s telling her story for the first time. And oh – what a story. Emily is a glass-edged, vivid narrator full of fragile braggadocio and vicious, vicious pain.
Heart-Shaped Bruise is massively out of my comfort zone and I found it a little hard to get in to at first. It felt a bit too artful for what I was expecting. But then, once I was in there – it was good. Almost voyeuristically good. What Byrne does is, she gives heart to the heartless. Emily’s one of those people who’s done awful things and we shouldn’t love her.
(But we sort of do. We sort of root for her to come back from this place she’s in and pull herself out of the darkness).
Heart-Shaped Bruise is a massive book because, I think, it poses so many more questions than it can ever answer. Revenge. Love. Loss. Everything. It’s big.
Emily Koll is bigger. There was one moment that leapt out of the sky at me. One of the characters asks Emily what she wants when she dies. Her reply? “When I go, I want to punch a hole in the sky.”
That’s it. That longing to make a mark – to just – just matter.
Tanya Byrne makes Emily matter.
Heart-Shaped Bruise is kind of spectacular.