Monday, 23 August 2010

“Music and Silence” by Rose Tremain

I haven’t been reading much fiction lately, but decided to start making inroads into my teetering “to-be-read” pile.

“Music and Silence” by Rose Tremain was recommended to me as a superb example of a multi-voiced novel.

This is a long book (+450 pages), superbly written in a lyrical prose style. Set in 17th century Denmark, it’s well-researched and brilliantly conveys what life must have been like in that time. In addition, it cleverly hints at correlations between that corrupt world and today’s world.

From the historical King Christian IV of Denmark to the fictitious English lutenist, Peter Claire, the characters are richly drawn and interesting. Although there is no dramatic plot to follow -indeed, the story itself doesn’t even follow a linear path, but jumps around from character to character – there is a strong element of both love and discreet eroticism woven through the story. The sweep of human emotions keep one turning the pages as one is drawn into the complexity of not only the vast array of characters, but of human nature itself.

Tremain’s beautiful style is, mostly, easy to read, although at times she was long-winded. Her ability to change tenses effortlessly was impressive. Whether writing in first person present or third person past, Tremain kept the text so fluid the shifts were hardly noticeable. I did, however, find her addiction to the “:” as a punctuation mark distracting.

These are minor issues, though, because ultimately the fluid and haunting “Music and Silence” can be read again and again. Each reading will, I'm sure, produce some new gem to savour. I would highly recommend it when you have enough leisure time to linger over the pages.

10 comments:

damaria senne said...

Sounds like an intesting book. Glad you had a moment to read some fiction. I hope revision road is going well?

Bish Denham said...

Sounds like something I'd really like!

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

This sounds really intriguing!

paulgreci said...

Music and Silence sounds like a really rich book! One that stays with you long after you've finished.

Judith Mercado said...

Judy, if I didn't have my own my teetering “to-be-read” pile, I'd certainly grab this one. It sounds like an interesting read, particularly because it comes recommended by you.

Helen Ginger said...

Sounds like a very unusual book. Even the title is intriguing.

(I have my own teetering pile that I have to read, so I know what you say.)

Robyn Campbell said...

Heyya my sweet friend. The book sounds like something I MUST read. My to-be-read pile is overflowing. But this book sounds great. So I shall add one more. *sigh*

Christopher and I send love and hugs. :)

Cold As Heaven said...

I read about a contemporary so-called modern composer who wrote a piece of music that was just silence ... it's easy for the orchestra to play at least >:)

Cold As Heaven

Anita said...

I'll have to put this on my read-when-you-want-to-think list. Right now I'm doing the read-when-you-can-barely-breathe list.

trish said...

'Music and Silence' is one of my all time favourite books. It is worth seeking out.