An Equal Music is a fraction of the size of Seth's A Suitable Boy, but is still deliciously expansive. In under 400 pages, the author offers up exquisite complexities, personal and lyrical, while deftly fielding any fears that he's composed a Harlequin for highbrows. During one emotional crescendo, Michael tells Julia, "I don't know how I've lived without you all these years," only to realize, "how feeble and trite my words sound to me, as if they have been plucked out of some housewife fantasy." In addition to the pitch of its love story, one of the book's joys lies in Seth's creation of musical extremes. As the Maggiore rehearses, moving from sniping and impatience to perfection, the author expertly notates the joys of collaboration, trust, and creation. "It's the weirdest thing, a quartet," one member remarks. "I don't know what to compare it to. A marriage? a firm? a platoon under fire? a self-regarding, self-destructive priesthood? It has so many different tensions mixed in with its pleasures."
An Equal Music is a novel in which the length of Schubert's Trout Quintet matters deeply, the discovery of a little-known Beethoven opus is a miracle, and each instrument has its own being. Just as Michael can't hope to possess Julia, he cannot even dream of owning his beloved Tononi, the violin he has long had only on loan. And it goes without saying that Vikram Seth knows how to tell a tale, keeping us guessing about everything from what the Quartet's four-minute encore will be to what really occasioned Julia's departure from Michael's life. (Or was it in fact Michael who abandoned Julia?) As this love story ranges from London to Michael's birthplace in the north of England to Vienna to Venice, few readers will remain deaf to its appeals. --Kerry Fried --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
This book acquainted me with chamber music and the dynamics of a quartet of talented musicians working through their mutual dedication to their craft. Read morePublished 4 months ago by pennsylvania grandma
This is fascinating about what it is to be a musician. It takes you into the passion, the experience of connecting and playing a work.Published 4 months ago by Tess Alexander
Wonderful, wonderful writing. A musician myself, I don't know how he managed to write so knowledgeably about music without being a musician. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Mary Lou Martin
I am not up to date on classical music, although I learned a lot from reading this book. I did not know that the author had such an intense love of classical music. Read morePublished 14 months ago by margot 1
This is a complex character development set in the context
of a string quartet. Moves slowly but is interesting in it's detail.
This book was recommended by a friend who read it with her book group. I learned a lot about the dynamics of a string quartet - then shared it with a friend who plays in one.Published 18 months ago by Bookworm
Although it is a second-hand one, this book arrived in good condition,
and in good time. I can also recommend the story, especially for
classical music lovers.
one of a handful of the greatest books I have ever read and certainly the greatest book about the experience of being a musician ever written. Mr. Read morePublished 19 months ago by English tutor