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The Music Shop: A Novel Hardcover – January 2, 2018
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Digital, MP3 Audio, Unabridged
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“The Music Shop is an unabashedly sentimental tribute to the healing power of great songs, and Joyce is hip to greatness in any key. . . . [The novel] captures the sheer, transformative joy of romance—‘a ballooning of happiness.’ Joyce’s understated humor . . . offers something like the pleasure of A. A. Milne for adults. She has a kind of sweetness that’s never saccharine, a kind of simplicity that’s never simplistic. . . . I wouldn’t change a single note. Rachel Joyce, if music be the food of love, write on!”—Ron Charles, The Washington Post
“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 . . . Joyce’s novel is intellectually and emotionally satisfying on every possible level. If you love words, if you love music, if you love love, this is 2018’s first must-read, and it will be without question one of the year’s best.”—BookPage
“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
“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
Rachel Joyce is the author of the Sunday Times and international bestsellers The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and Perfect. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book Prize and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and has been translated into thirty-six languages. Joyce was named the Specsavers National Book Awards “New Writer of the Year” in 2012. She is also the author of The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy, The Music Shop, and the digital short story A Faraway Smell of Lemon and is the award-winning writer of more than thirty original afternoon plays and classic adaptations for BBC Radio 4. Rachel Joyce lives with her family in Gloucestershire.
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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.
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.