Andrew Crumey Music, in a Foreign Language

ISBN 13: 9780312146887

Music, in a Foreign Language

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9780312146887: Music, in a Foreign Language
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Winner of Scotland's Saltire Prize for Best First Novel, Music, in a Foreign Language is a layered, deeply affecting exploration of friendship, betrayal, the nature of fiction, and the meaning of history.
Set in an imaginary police state in contemporary Britain, the novel explores the complex relationship between two men, Charles King and Robert Waters, a physicist and a historian who share a secret history of political and sexual dimensions. As young men, King and Waters had briefly copublished an underground magazine called Flood. Years later, long-concealed copies of the magazine become important in a state investigation that will pit one man against the other
As the novel's narrator unfolds the tale, he reveals pieces of his life. A man with an incomplete past and an uncertain future, he writes and reads in search of his own history. Like the melody and counterpoint of a fugue, the past story of King and Waters is augmented by the narrator's autobiography, until both movements inevitably join across time in a conclusion of startling power.
Drawing together his variations into a grand theme, Andrew Crumey weaves music, physics, history, philosophy, and fiction together with an unforgettable human drama.

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Review:

You can't accuse Andrew Crumey of playing it safe with his first novel. It's sprawling, intricate, moody, crazed, philosophical, and oddly introspective. Despite a wealth of plot lines--among them the confused lineage of Duncan Waters, the love affairs of physicist Charles King, and a story of beautiful strangers on a train--the book also finds time to develop a discussion of Italian surrealist writer Alfredo Galli, who may or may not have created many of the plot lines attributed to the narrator. Ultimately, Music in a Foreign Language becomes a work of metafiction as it attempts to unravel the mystery of what exactly a novel is. A challenging and entertaining read.

About the Author:

Andrew Crumey was born in Glasgow in 1961. He studied theoretical physics and mathematics at St. Andrews University and Imperial College, and did postdoctoral research at Leeds University in nonlinear dynamics. His second novel, Pfitz, is available from Picador. He lives in Newcastle upon Tyne.

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Andrew Crumey
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