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Garcia's Heart: A Novel Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; First Edition edition (November 13, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312367082
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312367084
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,588,006 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Neurologist Durcan (A Short Journey by Car) dissects the ethics involved when politics, medicine and violence collide in this finely wrought novel about a neurologist turned biotech entrepreneur who travels to The Hague to witness his mentor's war crimes trial. Patrick Lazerenko is a punk teen in Montreal when he first meets Hernan García, the Spanish immigrant owner of a neighborhood grocery store. Caught trying to vandalize Hernan's store, Patrick is roped into working off the damages and soon finds himself attached to the García family. When Patrick sees Hernan's backroom medical consultations with local immigrants, he is inspired to become a doctor himself. Years later, a journalist exposes Hernan—dubbed the Angel of Lepaterique—as having been mixed up in the CIA-backed torture of subversive citizens in Honduras in the 1980s. Parallels to Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo are acute (and even overtly identified) as Hernan is accused of witnessing and aiding in detainee torture. Subplots involving a devious political think-tank, the long-expired romance between Patrick and Hernan's daughter and the goings-on at Patrick's company, provide a rich backdrop to the trial, but the centerpiece is the mélange of complex feelings that arise within Patrick, who finds himself simultaneously condemning and rooting for Hernan. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

Praise for García’s Heart

 

“Liam Durcan raises complex and important issues in García’s Heart, exposing the frailty of human nature against the background of medical science.... An intelligent book, thought provoking and satisfying---a meditation on the workings of the mind.”

---Clare Morrall, author of Astonishing Splashes of Colour

 

“Eloquent and haunting, García’s Heart fearlessly explores the moral ambiguities of the modern world. Durcan demonstrates his supreme versatility with his psychologically penetrating, technically assured, yet empathic and human portrait of a man struggling to come to terms with a terrible angel.”

---Eden Robinson, author of Monkey Beach

 

“With this remarkable debut novel, Liam Durcan...has firmly ensconced himself within the hallowed ranks of doctors making successful forays into literature, a line running straight from Chekhov through William Carlos Williams and W. Somerset Maugham.”

---Quill & Quire

 

“Durcan’s language is sculpted with seemingly effortless precision. His sentences are rich with detail and metaphor, luxurious with reference and allusion, but also lean and raw, getting straight to the point of what he wants to describe.”

---Literary Review of Canada


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Scott George on June 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The first thing I was stunned by when I started reading this first work by Liam Durcan was the precision in the style of writing and the structure of the novel. His character development is compelling and his use of symbolism is not overapplied (although some are a little obvious). I imagine this novel would be categorized as a thriller, but the most fascinating aspect is the psychological impact of the events on the main character.

Duncan is clearly making parallels to the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. The refreshing part is that his treatment is not heavyhanded. There is moralizing, but it is of the self-examining type.

This is a very strong effort by a new writer. I highly recommend.
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By Charles Loomis on October 20, 2010
Format: Paperback
My wife picked this up for me in a dollar store. She leafed through it and thought I would like it. Like it? I loved it. What a wonderful book. You'll be drawn in to it like iron filings to a magnet. What a talented writer and what a fascinating story! I don't think my wife ever got a better bargain. I'm so happy she bought it for me. "Keep on keeping on" Liam Durcan!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth D. Penn on February 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Liam Durcan takes the reader into the head of Patrick Lazerenko, the graffiti artist teen, the young doctor and the neuroscientist working to help Globomart (the world's largest retailer) read the minds of its customers. With extensive references to Montreal's NDG area, Den Haag and loaded with medical facts, this book continually peaked my interest, keeping me online looking at maps and information to fill in the voids in my knowledge. What a treat to be entertained and motivated to learn at the same time.

The character development is captivating. Masterfully crafted, the twists in the book could be anticipated in retrospect, but the magic of the author is that they never are. A good solid read, "Garcia's Heart" will have me eagerly searching for more work from this author.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on October 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
In Montreal teenage Patrick Lazerenko was just another aimless street punk until he was caught vandalizing the Bodega owned by immigrant, Hernan García. However, Patrick got off soft as he is allowed to work off the damage he caused. He becomes part of the Garcia family and considers Hernan as a father figure. In fact it is Hernan's illegal practice helping Central American immigrants with health issues that inspires Patrick to attend medical school and become a doctor.

Decades later, Hernan is exposed as the Angel of Lepaterique, who was part of a CIA sponsored group that tortured Hondurans during the Reagan era. Hernan is brought to The Hague to stand trial as a war criminal accused of abetting detainee torture. Unable to ignore his mentor in trouble and needing to know the truth, Patrick travels to Europe unable to reconcile the man who saved him and gave so much to immigrants in Montreal with the person who could be part of a group torturing dissidents.

Patrick holds together this superb contemporary character study as readers observe his myriad of emotions as his hero whom he placed on a pedestal crumbles to the ground. On the one hand he wants Hernan to be exonerated, but also begins to believe his mentor did the nasty deeds. Complicating his feelings towards his father figure is seeing his former lover Hernan's daughter Celia with in your face references that imply war crime trials for those in charge and participating at Abu Ghraib and Guantomino is appropriate.

Harriet Klausner
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By F. Carlos on July 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book has all the great elements - political backdrop, foreign settings, courtroom drama, mystery and very well developed characters. I was caught up in the dilemma that Lazarenko faced and found myself re-reading portions of the book to make sure I had savored every detail. A smart read and compelling in its humanity. The contrast between perception and reality closely examined, yet never quite resolved.
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