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Reviewed by Sandy Masia for Readers' Favorite
Two years after their father's death, Julia, Anna, and Marion descend on their childhood mansion. A house that harbors childhood memories and the spirit of their high-handed father. There, the girls are forced to reexamine their past, themselves, and their relationship with their father. The Weight of the Heart by Susana Aikin is a sophisticated work of women's fiction, and the best book I have read this year in any genre. It is what you want when you pick up a women's fiction book. You want depth and a rich examination of interpersonal relationships. A look at how causing harm is a frustratingly mysterious and uncontrollable thing we do because the reasons we do what we do are forged through years of conditioning so powerful and deep we can't comprehend it. And it hurts us just as much as hurts the people we hurt. It makes you wonder if there is a way of accepting how things happened, salvaging what's left and building on it; or if that is a comforting lie we tell ourselves because reality is too harsh to accept. You want a book that confronts you with the truth about pain, loss, human fallibility, and our capacity for redemption or lack thereof. The Weight of the Heart gives you that and more.
Susana Aikin is an expert at intimate, well-meaning paternal relationships that contort and drive us into impossible, hurtful situations that we cannot return from unscathed. An expert on relationship dynamics that leave us feeling inadequate, incomplete, resentful, hurt, confused, enamored, touched, and remorseful all at once because relationships are nuanced, many-sided shapes that are capable of producing diverse, and sometimes antithetical experiences. It is the most comprehensive, vivid examination of defining relationships that I have ever seen anywhere else. The Weight of the Heart by Susan Aikin is a book for real people about real human beings. It is an angst-filled, edifying masterpiece crafted by a deep soul; Susana Aikin has redefined my standards!