Music and silence book review

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music and silence book review

MUSIC AND SILENCE by Rose Tremain | Kirkus Reviews

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Music and Silence by Rose Tremain

I am a huge fan of Rose Tremain. She consistently delivers and each book is so unique. This one didn't sound all that promising to me from the synopsis, but it has all the qualities of a good book with twists Please sign in to write a review. If you have changed your email address then contact us and we will update your details.

The award-winning Music and Silence is one of Tremains most popular works. Set in the court of Christian IV of Denmark during the seventeenth century, it is a beautiful and enduring tale of love, intrigue and betrayal. Part history, part imagination, Music and Silence lyrically evokes the rich tapestry of court life. The obsessions and secret woes of a host of memorable characters are brilliantly realised by Tremain, who deftly weaves together the numerous sub-plots. We encounter a King, tormented by his quest for perfection; the raucous and spoilt Kirsten, raging against the constraints of her queenly situation; and the silently grieving Emilia. Would you like to tell us about a lower price?

Jenny Agutter's reading of Rose Tremain's magnificent novel Music and Silence is a long haul to listen to, but I found myself dreaming up excuses to don headphones. Never has the domestic brightwork been so highly polished or the dog so energetically walked. The setting is 17th-century Denmark, with interludes in Ireland, England and Norway, and at first the characters seem impossibly baroque — a king who insists on his musicians playing in a damp cellar so his guests can hear eerily unseen music, a consort with frenzied sexual appetites, an Irish earl obsessed with a melody heard in a dream, a child so abused by his stepmother that he retreats into the world of insects. Lighting up their dark worlds are an angelic English lute player and a beautiful maid-in-waiting. Gradually we come to understand why they do what they do, what their real worth is. But will good or evil triumph? The balancing act continues to the very last side of the very last tape, as Tremain interlaces her characters' colourful parallel lives with all the dexterity of the composer of a great symphony.

Thank you! Versatile British author Tremain's eighth novel after The Way I Found Her , is the stuff of which fairy-tales are spun, though it also exhibits a compelling psychological and moral density.
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He is to join the royal orchestra. While one main thread of the story will concern his love for Emilia, servant to Queen Kirsten, the novel hums with other stories: of the lonely king, brooding on his childhood; of his marriage-sick queen, with her illicit love affair; of Emilia's strange family and its secrets. Tremain has used the Danish court to bring together a family of stories. She does this in a novel of considerable formal ambition, which includes both first- and third-person narratives, exploits many shifts of time and viewpoint, and allows narration to move between past and present tenses. Place and time must hold together its sheer narrative variety. However remote the historical world it imagines, we must believe in it. This special exercise of the novelist's imagination has often been deprecated.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Utkeyprotmars says:

    Music and Silence, by Rose Tremain, read by Jenny Agutter | The Independent

  2. Abo V. says:

    Editorial Reviews

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