a clean cut to the heart of something

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Couch Tomato

Senior Member
Russian & Dutch
Of course, even with this book, Chatwin cloaked fact with concoction; when sketching individuals and incidents, he would adjust, if not abandon, objective reality for the sake of a better twist to an anecdote, or a clean cut to the heart of what the book somehow seemed to suggest – that through travel it was possible to discover whole histories that had been lived out as if solely to excite and fascinate future explorers.
(Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English 1 - Student's Book with Answers)

Is this a common and existing expression, when used in a figurative context? Could we also replace this with "for the sake of cutting to the chase of what the book..."? I'm only familiar with this phrase and I'm curious if the author adapted it in this text.

I've googled this expression, and it seems to be used in literal context only, or so the results indicate.

What do you think?

Thank you in advance.
Last edited:
  • Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    We talk about getting to the heart of a matter, which means to address its core essentials. It seems to me that 'a clean cut to the heart' is a variation on that, and speaks of getting to the core very directly.
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