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The Gustav Sonata (Paperback)
  • The Gustav Sonata (Paperback)
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The Gustav Sonata (Paperback)

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£8.99
Paperback 320 Pages / Published: 26/01/2017
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Waterstones Fiction Book of the Month for February (2017)

Shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award 2016

‘It is no use asking what happened, Gustav… How can I possibly know? Everything in the war depended on who you were and where you were. And then destiny took over.’

What is the difference between friendship and love? Or between neutrality and commitment?

Gustav Perle grows up in a small town in 'neutral' Switzerland, where the horrors of the Second World War seem a distant echo. But Gustav's father has mysteriously died, and his adored mother Emilie is strangely cold and indifferent to him.

Gustav's childhood is spent in lonely isolation, his only toy a tin train with painted passengers staring blankly from the carriage windows. As time goes on, an intense friendship with a boy of his own age, Anton Zwiebel, begins to define Gustav's life. Jewish and mercurial, a talented pianist tortured by nerves when he has to play in public, Anton fails to understand how deeply and irrevocably his life and Gustav's are entwined.

Fierce, astringent, profoundly tender, Rose Tremain's beautifully orchestrated novel asks the question, what does it do to a person, or to a country, to pursue an eternal quest for neutrality, and self-mastery, while all life's hopes and passions continually press upon the borders and beat upon the gate.

A mainstay of contemporary literary fiction and a permanent resident on the shelves of Waterstones’ Fiction sections, Rose Tremain was one of only five women on the original Granta list of Best Young British Novelists in 1983. Since then her ever-inventive eye has ranged widely encompassing intricately detailed historical fiction such as Restoration (for which she won the Whitbread Award) and Music and Silence to contemporary novels The Road Home and Trespass.

Read a Waterstones exclusive interview with Rose Tremain in which she discusses The Gustav Sonata, the cost oof emotional reticence, the music of fiction and the vital importance of friendship. 

Publisher: Vintage Publishing
ISBN: 9781784700201
Number of pages: 320
Weight: 224 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 20 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

"Tremain has the painterly genius of an Old Master, and she uses it to stunning effect... Glorious." - Melissa Katsoulis, The Times

"This is a perfect novel about life's imperfection... Tremain is writing at the height of her inimitable powers... Remarkable and moving novel." - Kate Kellaway, Observer 

"The Gustav Sonata is a magnificent novel, heartbreaking, unsentimental and beautifully written, and it reinforces my opinion that there are few writers out there with the dexterity or emotional intelligence to rival that of the great Rose Tremain." - John Boyne, The Irish Times 

"Beautifully tender and brilliantly written novel... A tale of the most powerful part of any friendship: love." * Stylist *

"In The Gustav Sonata, Tremain once again proves herself to be a writer of exceptional talent ... Previous novels like The Road Home have already showcased her staggering sensitivity and capacity for empathy but they're here again, magnificently undiminished. Tremain is a writer who understands every emotion ... and it's ultimately this understanding that has produced another exquisite book" -- Matt Cain * i *

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Reviews

View all

“Painfully beautiful....”

Rose Tremain is one of the very finest of British novelists. The heartbreaking new novel from her deals with love , happiness and meaning of friendship.

The essence of the exquisite novel lays the tender friendship... More

Hardback edition
9th April 2016
Helpful? Upvote 130

“Not "flashy" but subtle, nuanced and skilfully written.”

THE GUSTAV SONATA

This was like falling into a comfortable bed in terms of the quality of the writing, all organic 500 thread count cotton with a top quality duvet. So luxurious without shouting out its credentials... More

Hardback edition
6th July 2016
Helpful? Upvote 85

“A Novel for Anybody”

In many ways, this is a novel for just about anybody. Firstly, its writing is superb. It holds the pace of a thriller, forcing you to risk precious sleep, whilst still retaining an element of something deeper,... More

Paperback edition
2 similar books recommended
3rd February 2017
Helpful? Upvote 71

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