The Weight of Love review: Hilary Fannin’s debut novel sears itself on the brain

Tale of a love triangle in London and Dublin finds new things to say about heartbreak

Hilary Fannin: exceeds all expectations. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell

Hilary Fannin: exceeds all expectations. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell

A novel by Hilary Fannin, Irish Times columnist and author of the highly acclaimed memoir Hopscotch, arrives on a wave of expectation. The Weight of Love must, perhaps unfairly, carry the weight of the love for Fannin’s work that has gone before. A fiction debut from a woman who has mastered the art of truth is already enticing, and the premise accentuates the anticipation.

In a dual narrative split between London in 1995 and Dublin in 2018, Robin and Ruth are two-thirds of a love triangle, the shaky foundations on which a marriage is built and friendships are tested. In the prologue, Robin introduces Ruth (the woman he is in love with) to his best friend, Joseph, the elusive, passionate artist type that women seem to always fall for and seldom escape unscathed. Ruth is no exception. And yet, when the timeline jumps forward to Dublin 23 years later it is Robin and Ruth who are married. What has happened in between?

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