Out of Heart by Irfan Master

‘Adam is a teenage boy who lives with his mum and younger sister. His dad has left them although lives close by. His sister no longer speaks and his mum works two jobs. Adam feels the weight of the world upon his shoulders. Then his grandfather dies and in doing so he donates a very precious gift – his heart. William is the recipient of Adam’s grandfather’s heart. He has no family and feels rootless and alone. In fact, he feels no particular reason to live. And then he meets Adam’s family. William has received much, but it appears that he has much to offer Adam and his family too. A powerful tale of love and strength in adversity.’


Out of Heart is about a contemporary British Asian extended family, with each member dealing with grief, anger and loss in their own way. The narration swaps from character to character, each with their own secrets and their own reasons for not communicating with the world. This means that, as a reader, you have to work harder to piece together what has happened and why the characters are struggling to speak. In many ways this works and gives the book a dreamlike quality, but at times I was left wanting more.

And I wanted to hear more. The book touches on domestic violence, depression, guilt, nationality, gangs, standing up to bullies and, above all, the healing power of creativity. Its celebration of art and writing – the pure power of creating something – is beautiful and kept me reading. I also enjoyed reading a BAME own voice writing about immigrant communities. I felt like a light was being shone on issues I care about from a different perspective. It has made me curious. It’s made me question what it would feel like to be those characters, to be in that community. It’s made me want to understand.

I just wish that light could have been a torch and not a candle.

You can get your copy here.

Source – review copy from publisher, Hot Key Books.


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