HEART: A Memoir by Lance Morrow
Kirkus Star

HEART: A Memoir

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Absorbing reminiscence of a heart in disintegration. Senior Time writer Morrow (Fishing in the Tiber, 1988, etc.) suffered his first heart attack at the age of 36. His second came 17 years later, and it is this insult to the body that he recounts here. He describes in such frightening detail the trajectory of a heart attack's passage through the body that the reader has to set the book down from time to time and take a deep, reassuring breath. His picture of recovery is less scary but just as affecting, as he remembers ""eternities of ceiling time--staring, thinking. In New York Hospital, I lay hour after hour in the passive patient's twilight, learning to accept the needles and tubes and noises and light."" Thankfully, Morrow never slides into bathos or self-pity. Quite the opposite: He is often angry at himself for the weakness of his heart muscle, recalling, ""I blame myself. I rant at myself,"" but catching himself by noting, ""This is not an intelligent way to get well."" During his recovery, Morrow remembers bits and pieces of his life: his hard-working, hard-drinking journalist parents; his travels into hellish places like Bosnia, where a Serbian concentration-camp commandant barks, ""I am a humanist!""; his youthful efforts at reiterating his hero Ernest Hemingway's path. Morrow's well-wrought reflections on these episodes of a life interestingly lived, miniature essays in themselves, stand like islands in the streams of consciousness that this memoir often assumes. And fine islands they are, full of memorable lines: ""I have seen it call forth too many slurred stupidities to buy the sophomoric lines, In vino veritas."" ""Leave the hatred to those who need it."" These and other sharp-edged reflections make us glad that Morrow is still with us--and that he has given us yet another fine book.

Pub Date: Sept. 14th, 1995
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Warner