Not sheepish, but individ-ewe-al (livredor) wrote,
Not sheepish, but individ-ewe-al

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Book: An equal music

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.
Tags: book

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