Grace Notes, MacLaverty's first novel since Cal, is as much about Irish identity--and possibility--as it is about art. Catherine's newest piece, a mass, includes the huge drums Protestants play in parades. "It was a scary sound--like thunder. Like the town was under a canopy of dark noise." Though her fellow Catholics see the drums as instruments of threat, Catherine is determined to integrate them into her composition.
Her return to Belfast for her father's funeral brings back several ghosts, among them an influential professor who spoke of grace notes--"the notes between the notes." This novel is full of such instances, wry snatches of conversation and unforgettable observations: the new Chinese restaurant that has had to offer chips to stay in business, or the pub that's "on a slight hill. When dogs pissed at the door the dark lines ran diagonally to the gutter." These transcend the occasional passage in which MacLaverty tries too hard to see into the life and rhythms of a female artist. The final section, however, a live radio concert of Catherine's piece, is a triumph for both woman composer and male author. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
After reading Cal, I didn't think MacLaverty could come close to that achievement, but Grace Notes was every bit as good.Another tour de force!Published 3 months ago by anne
Catherine is an Irish woman who is musical. Her parents notice her talent when she's young and find her a wonderful teacher. She becomes a pianist and a composer. Read morePublished on June 5, 2010 by Cynthia
Catherine McKenna is a composer and a music teacher. She flies back home to Northern Ireland to attend her father's funeral. Read morePublished on January 31, 2007 by HORAK
This book did something I never encountered before: it allowed me to experience the genesis and creation of a musical composition. Read morePublished on November 8, 2006 by Elizabeth Storm
Grace Notes was gracefully written and an interesting tender story. It was a delightful read and I highly recommend it!Published on May 11, 2001 by Deborah K Root
A very disappointing and ordinary book - I cannot believe that it was nominated for a booker prize. You just cannot try to write about music in these terms - certainly most... Read morePublished on May 7, 2001 by "continuo"
Bernard MacLaverty's "Grace Notes" is a truly absorbing piece of work by one of Ireland's most promising modern writers. Read morePublished on January 22, 2000
This is one of the most honest, well observed, multi-layered fictions I've read in a long time. It opens up the mind and heart of the creative artist and gets down the details of... Read morePublished on August 24, 1999