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The Music Shop: A Novel Kindle Edition
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“Rachel Joyce’s charming and deceptively simple fourth novel chronicles an offbeat love story between a mystery woman and an ardent, if lonely, collector and gently explores the power of memory and music and the certainty of change. . . . Love, friendship, and especially the healing powers of music all rise together into a triumphant crescendo. . . . This lovely novel is as satisfying and enlightening as the music that suffuses its every page.”—The Boston Globe
“Magnificent . . . If you love words, if you love music, if you love love, this [novel] will be without question one of the year’s best.”—BookPage (Top Pick in Fiction)
“An unforgettable story of music, loss and hope. Fans of High Fidelity, meet your next quirky love story. Vinyl fans, hold on to your turntables—Joyce’s latest is a buoyant homage to the healing power of music well-played.”—People
“Joyce has a knack for quickly sketching characters in a way that makes them stick. [The Music Shop] will surprise you.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Inspiring . . . The Music Shop is a warm, familiar place where everybody knows your name.”—Associated Press
“While this tale is easily the most charming novel you will read this year, it is also one of the most profound. . . . The Music Shop is a life-affirming novel that depicts human beings at their best.”— Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star
“Magical . . . Joyce has a winner in this deceptively simple love story. . . . Joyce’s odes to music . . . and the notion that the perfect song can transform one’s life make this novel a triumph.”—Publishers Weekly
“Whether on foot, as in her novel The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, or track by track, on this unlikely musical odyssey, Joyce excels in enveloping readers in epic journeys of lost connections and loving reunions.”—Booklist
“Joyce sets up a charming cast of characters, and her spirals into the sonic landscapes of brilliant musicians are delightful, casting a vivid backdrop for the quietly desperate romance between Frank and Ilse. From nocturnes to punk, this musical romance is ripe for filming.”—Kirkus Reviews
“[A] beautiful ode to music, community and love.”—The Sun
About the Author
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
“Joyce’s beguiling debut is [a] modest-seeming story of ‘ordinary’ English lives that enthralls and moves you as it unfolds.”—People (four stars)
“[A] gorgeously poignant novel of hope and transformation.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy
“A beautiful story which will grip you, make you laugh and cry, uplift your spirit and leave you feeling profoundly grateful and changed by the reading experience.”—Daily Mail
“Touching . . . [a] quiet, gentle, moving novel.”—The Observer
“If only there were more novelists like Rachel Joyce. . . . [The character] Diana herself is faultless . . . a fully rounded hero, someone to fall in love with.”—The Telegraph
“A poignant and powerful book, rich with empathy and charged with beautiful, atmospheric writing.”—Tana French
- ASIN : B01NAFLSXD
- Publisher : Random House; Reprint edition (January 2, 2018)
- Publication date : January 2, 2018
- Language : English
- File size : 6123 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 338 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 0812986563
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #30,580 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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From the very first page I just knew that I had something special. The writing is so gorgeous that I could cry. It has the perfect balance of humor and seriousness. The words flow so seemlessly and the descriptions of emotions and everyday occaurances raged from poeticly tanganle to excitingly relatable. My heart moved, my lips smiled, and I just fully enjoyed my time reading this book.
And this extends to the characters. Oh, how I adore the foolish and charming Kit. Admired the memories of Peg. And shared a core of myself with Frank himself, our main character. Each and everyone of them felt so real. Like characters in a sitcom, they have quirks and irks but, time and time again come back together.
The combined being of this book, every page, every word, every character, every bit of it has stored itself inside my heart. It has also opened my ears to listening to music in the way Frank expresses it. This book can seriously change your life.
And it only misses the five star rating due to the last chapters in which the plot got a little too quirky and jumps 21 years. But don't get me wrong, if this was a movie it'd be the cutest thing and go right up there with sick day films such as Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail. Additionally, the very end is quite sweet and makes me feel all tucked in and happy.
So please do read this book if you want that feel good love story with a slice of life feeling.
Thank you Penguin Random House for the e-book arc of this!
Music finds our emotions, hidden way down deep under layers of protection placed there by our surface selves, and brings those emotions back up to the light of day to be lived in full color. Sometimes too strong, sometimes only just beginning to bud, these emotions deliver impact to life's moments.
Rachel Joyce taps into emotions with words as easily as stringing together letters yet in a way that frequently surprises and pounds into your life as nothing else. If you are looking for a light or deep read with some mystery, drama, humor, bittersweet, or comedy thrown in for good measure, this will be your next book. There will be moments of surprised delight when you find yourself rereading it loud a particular phrase.... ha!!! Bwahahaha!!! you'll say.
Take a moment, step inside The Music Store. You'll be glad you did.
Even after the story ends, your imagination will continue to turn the pages to see what happens next.
Things start well. Nice guy Frank sells only vinyl records in his dingy little store despite the explosive advent of CD's and the digital world. All his life Frank has loved two things - music, all types, from Beethoven to the Beatles, and vinyl records. He has sound booths where customers can don headsets and listen to 78's and 45's (but no cassettes, please) to their heart's content. And some of his always colorful neighbors and fellow shop owners come in not knowing what they want, but Frank listens to them and their problems, and always has a solution, whether it be Vivaldi or ABBA or Peggy Lee or Bach or all four. Then SHE walks by outside, and faints on the sidewalk. She has big eyes and likes the color green, and she can fix anything. So she pops in every so often and fixes things and listens to Frank.
They bond quickly, Frank and Ilse, his younger little miss from Germany. Over music. And then nothing happens. There's lots of music, lots of amusing anecdotes about some of the Great Composers, but nothing happens. Frank has issues. He was raised by a single parent, his Mom, who loved only two things, music and no, not vinyl, but sex. Frank was not to use the Mother word; she was Peg and answered only to Peg. So, Frank, 40ish now, is scared of relationships. We're still not at the 50% point of the book and I'm annoyed and bored with Frank. And it drags on.
The ending is OK. Maybe Capra would have liked it, but he would have completely redone the middle half of the book. And he would have whispered into Joyce's ear that you can't do 40's and 80's together, you have to pick one, or it becomes too much like walking into a movie theatre today and seeing Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant jousting over the hand of Keira Knightley.
Top reviews from other countries
The story is about love. Unexpected and unlikely love. And so much more – if there can be more than the best of things. It’s about holding onto a dream. Keeping still while all around you are chasing wildly around and bumping into their hopes. It’s about listening to others even if they aren’t telling you what they really want, or need. The main character is music. Frank owns a record shop that only sells vinyl. He pays a huge price for his loyalty. His character is richly drawn and we learn more about him with every short chapter. He is a multi-faceted fellow and his past has such an impact on him that we want to hold him close and tell him it will be okay. Only if we tried that he would flinch away. He meets a woman and falls in love. Their story is so well told, the writing so beautiful that you are with them every awkward step of the way. With them, surrounding them, propping them up, are a rich array of people who are all very adeptly drawn. We know these people, odd, vulnerable and humorous as they are. Running throughout the story is the music. Frank has this gift of helping people. He does it through music. Finding for them the type of music that will help and heal them. I particularly liked the bank manager and his wife. Reading this book was an unforeseen and wonderful experience. It will stay with me and is highly recommended.
The last time I actually cried when reading a book was when I was 17 and read “Of Mice and Men”. The penultimate chapter of The Music Shop got to me in exactly the same way, but I’m now 65. I found myself first just gulping, then actually crying, upon reading this (spoiler alert: can't give details without giving the ending away). Then the final “Hidden Track” chapter was just so life-affirming. Feel another gulp coming on here!
And, as an aside, I loved the early chapters of the book introducing me to music you need rather than music you think you like. As a result, I shall indeed be trying to source the Aretha album “Spirit in the Dark”; and that led me to think about uplifting songs/songs that made me feel extremely happy and uplifted back in the day, so I shall also be sourcing “O Happy Day” by the Edwin Hawkins Singers as well as “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers, both of which I used to own as singles, but have gone the way of all things now (lost/broken). A heartfelt thank you for an absolutely wonderful novel which will bear reading time and time again.
Many many thanks for writing such a wonderful book, and I so much look forward to your next one.
I looked forward to entering the music shop, my optimism was not dissolved in the slightest.
Thank you Rachel, you are the possessor of a mighty fine story telling mind.
You have added much colour and joy to my life. Your writing inflates me and lifts me up, to where we all belong. I read this book and also listened to the audio. The narrator was utterly brilliant!!
Here's to tomorrow, here's to today, here's to yesterday, by now, far far away.
The characters themselves are exquisitely drawn – all a little broken, distinctly damaged people, some with their background stories shared, all with their lives enriched by their contact and interaction with Frank with his big heart and his passion for music on its original vinyl. I loved Frank himself – the scenes from his childhood where his mother shared her passion for music but was totally incapable of showing love were incredibly moving, sometimes heartbreakingly sad, sometimes joyous when the music soared and filled the spaces. His awkwardness is just wonderfully captured – particularly in his interactions with the beautiful and enigmatic Ilse – and the moments of humour (and there are many) are always tempered by the lump in your throat, there because you come to care for him so much.
There were other characters I took to my heart too. I must mention Kit, Frank’s over-enthusiastic assistant, employed by Frank because he would never have survived life on the food factory production line, with his ability to break everything he touches and his production of posters and badges (all mis-spelled) to cover every situation. Meeting him again in later life was an absolute joy. And then there’s the spiky tattooist, the undertaker twins, the elderly lady who comes in humming tunes for Frank to identify, the Polish baker, the ex-priest with his immensely touching back story, the cafe waitress who becomes increasingly involved in Frank and Ilse’s relationship – the whole community is just perfectly drawn in every detail.
The backdrop too is vividly captured – the unnamed town in the late 80s, Unity Street ripe for redevelopment, the odour of cheese and onion permeating everything from the nearby food factory, the atmosphere of menace, the racist graffiti appearing nightly. The timeframe shifts to the present day – the proliferation of discount chains, the soulless shopping centre with its plastic foliage, all acutely observed.
And then there’s the story itself, very cleverly constructed with its four “sides” and a hidden track at the end – and a musical climax in the fourth section that grabbed me by the heart, totally joyous and quite perfectly done.
This book was tender and tremendously moving, beautifully written, and left me with both a smile and an ache around the heart that the story had to end. Its characters, the central love story, its music and its silences will live with me for a very long time.
I think I wold have liked this a great deal more if the romance had been handled a little more lightly and the background events and characters given more space.
There were some brilliant touches - Maud was a great character, the fascinating information about musicians and fanous pieces and songs made me want to listen to them again and I am almost tempted to dig out some old vinyl and listen to that. I enjoyed the final scenario enormously. As for the hidden track - well it was a bit treacly but it had to be there.