Laura's husband is immobilized by her death. Then he meets a playwright whose subject is death, and who believes that grief can be overcome through an act of will.
From Publishers Weekly
Hart's characters always suffer in the grip of some obsession. After Damage and Sin comes Oblivion?and that's just what most readers will wish for as they peruse the pages of this pretentious novel. Each of the two earlier books locked readers inside the head of a maniacally self-absorbed narrator; here, the focus is diffused among several characters, both living and dead, but all speak in similarly high-pitched, emotionally clotted voices. A year after his beloved wife Laura's death, famous London journalist and TV talk-show host Andrew Bolton still carries on a sorrow-steeped dialogue with her in his head. Laura's mother, similarly obsessed, communicates with her via entries in a journal. Complications ensue when Andrew is attracted to sweet Sarah, who patiently endures his suffering in the belief that her love will motivate Andrew to resume his life. But it is not until Andrew interviews playwright Catherine Samuelson that he achieves a stunning insight. Catherine tells him: "It is in the acknowledgement of the truth of our journey's end?not just death but oblivion?that happiness lies." Before Andrew can accept that advice, we must endure a large section of the book in which the characters in Catherine's new play?who are all dead?speak in melodramatic, turgid, practically unreadable prose. In searching for profundity, Hart has achieved banality.
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Hart, author of the best selling novels Damage and Sin, is well versed in the study of powerful human emotions. Both of those previous works examined lives consumed by an unwieldy obsession, as does her latest one, in this case the longing and loss associated with death. The death of a young wife drives her mother, Jane, mad and her grieving husband, Andrew, nearly there. Both Andrew and his mother-in-law have conversations with the dead woman. Jane keeps a journal of various meetings with her dead daughter, and Andrew is nearly destroyed by his grief, so obsessed is he with his dead wife, despite the fact that he has begun a new relationship. When Andrew observes the characters in a play about death discussing their lives, their deaths, and mostly their fear of being forgotten, he is finally able to reconcile his feelings and his own fear that his wife's memory will fade into obscurity. This is a solid, beautifully crafted, eerie tale that will intrigue and entrance readers.