Julian Wolfreys Silent Music

ISBN 13: 9781481927161

Silent Music

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What would you think if the simple act of saying hello to a stranger altered your life forever? What if that person became the most important person in your life, and then died? Thirty years later, how you come to think about that meeting, how would you remember it, and all that followed? One summer afternoon in 1976, a young German woman, Katharina, recently arrived on the Isle of Wight, introduces herself to Benedict, guitarist and singer in a band performing at a High School fete. Their lives are changed personally in unexpected ways, but the meeting also has a profound effect on the other members of the band as well, and the band itself, over the course of the next seven years. As the story unfolds in two parts, both the principal characters and the Isle of Wight in the late 1970s and early 1980s are explored, each developing a particular voice. The first half of the novel moves between a series of ‘first encounters’ between the main characters of Silent Music. Moving back in time to introduce each character separately through the memory of the narrator, the novel’s first half details the developing relationship between Katharina and Benedict over a few weeks in the summer of 1976. The second half of the novel unfolds the story of their relationship, her part in the band, and the band’s progress and fortunes. More than just a setting, the Island’s character is revealed through the principal characters. In turn, its influence on their lives and on the music scene of period in general becomes important. The Island thus assumes significance as much as any of the characters, as its landscapes and locations present themselves, as part of a vivid portrait of place and its effect on people. From the narrator’s perspective, Silent Music introduces the reader to its principal characters: to Benedict, the narrator, seen in reflection through his memories of, and interactions with, the other characters; James, introspective cellist, bass player, and obsessive cricket enthusiast; Kate, outspoken violinist, accordionist, and singer, daughter of hippy parents; Graeme, the son of a farmer, an eccentric, larger than life court-jester; and to Katharina, a prodigiously gifted musician, daughter of a church organist, who charms everyone she meets. Moving from the mid-1970s to the tragic climax in 1983, the novel charts the events that bring together the various protagonists. Telling of meetings, of the formation of the band, the romance between Katharina and Benedict, her becoming a member of a band, Silent Music follows the parallel tales of their relationship’s deepening and the growth of the band. Presenting tales of family gatherings, recording sessions, touring, birthday and Christmas parties, along with incidental events that assume significance over time, the novel reaches its climax, bringing to an end both the band and its future hopes. Written in a style that pays as much close attention to the crafting of anecdotes as it does to the terrible importance of the narrator’s memories thirty years after the events of Silent Music, the novel follows a story of chance encounters, of music, memory and, ultimately, loss. A moving account of closely intertwined lives, punctuated by moments of absurd comedy, the narrative involves the reader in the inner, as well as every day lives of its characters. It explores in a lyrical prose, intricate and finely crafted, incisive in its focus in capturing the power of memory, the intertwining fortunes of a small group of close friends. Told in a style similar to writers such as John Banville, Karen Powell, Nicholas Shakespeare, and Marie Darriesseque, Silent Music presents a striking elegy to the enduring nature of love.

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About the Author:

Julian Wolfreys is Professor of English at the University of Portsmouth, where he is also Director of the Centre for Studies in Literature. He has written or edited more than forty books on nineteenth-and twentieth-century literature in English and Literary Theory.

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Wolfreys, Julian
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishi (2013)
ISBN 10: 1481927167 ISBN 13: 9781481927161
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