In an elegant world which seems stable and assured, in which both the money and social setting seem secure, the surface in this spellbinding fiction by Josephine Hart betrays the truth. Appropriately, Jack is a psychiatrist, dedicated to others, to the examination of other people's pasts and the reconstruction of their lives; he has so absorbed himself in the problems of others, that he has not quite come to grips with his own, to the detriment of his marriage and his own unexamined past.
When he and his sister Kate are summoned to Ireland for the sale of the family home, the burdens of the family's heritage return in full force. Though he thinks he has successfully suppressed the anguish of his past, the present threatens to unravel around him. In the house in Ireland terrible truths emerge about what happened years ago in a family tragedy that left indelible marks. The facts may have been reconstructed many times, but the appalling truth has not.
The Reconstructionist is a remarkable novel of startling psychological power about the reckless quality of exclusive love, about the damage done in families, and about the way we build our lives from fragments of memory, half-truths, compromise, and desire. This is Josephine Hart at the top of her form.