Book: An equal music - Livre d'Or








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Book: An equal music
Sunday, 15 October 2006 at 11:08 pm
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Author: Vikram Seth

Details: (c) Vikram Seth 1999; Pub Phoenix 2001; ISBN 0-75380-773-4

Verdict: An equal music is a really polished piece.

Reasons for reading it: I really enjoyed A suitable boy.

How it came into my hands: A charity shop in Dundee.

Everything about An equal music is good. The writing, the evoking of places, the structure, the exploration of deafness, the presentation of music as a force in people's lives. The characterization is absolutely superlative. Even though I found Michael somewhat annoying, he's so well drawn that I cared about him despite his flaws. In some ways aEM seems a little bit like a vehicle for Seth showing off; he is that rare creature, a novelist who is also a poet (not just someone who puts in overwritten prose and corny verse to look profound), and started his career as a travel writer. So aEM is a novel that really plays to his strengths.

The pacing is perhaps a little on the slow side, but it's a lot more compact than A suitable boy. And it's very enjoyable in lots of other ways that don't depend on excitement. It's really emotionally solid, as well as being well crafted. It's definitely a highbrow sort of book; all the detailed analysis of classical music would guarantee that for a start. And it's essentially a boy-meets-girl plot, though very much an orignal take on that. For people who like this kind of book it's a very good example, but it doesn't quite rise out of the lit-fic genre somehow.


Whereaboooots: London, UK
Moooood: contentcontent
Tuuuuune: Nirvana: Smells like teen spirit
Discussion: 3 contributions | Contribute something
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kht: default
From:kht
Date:October 15th, 2006 09:43 pm (UTC)
31 minutes after journal entry, 09:43 pm (kht's time)
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Yay! I loved that book.
(Sorry, I don't actually have anything useful and/or interesting to add!)
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darcydodo: default
From:darcydodo
Date:October 16th, 2006 01:04 am (UTC)
3 hours after journal entry, October 15th, 2006 07:04 pm (darcydodo's time)
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I also loved it — but presumably you know that if you want Seth doing poetry and novel together, then you really want to read The Golden Gate!
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zdamiana: cello
From:zdamiana
Date:October 18th, 2006 04:17 am (UTC)
2 days after journal entry
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If you haven't already read some Richard Powers, I would highly recommend him to you. He has an un-forced poetic prose style that reminds me very much of Vikram Seth. He also reminds me of Seth in his amazing breadth and depth of knowledge, and in particular, his deep knowledge of classical music.

I loved Powers' "The Gold Bug Variations," which I think you might particularly enjoy because of it's Molecular Biology (among other things) theme. I'm reading his "The Time Of Our Singing" right now, and enjoying it very much, though I think "The Gold Bug Variations" was a little bit better.
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