The Gustav Sonata (Hardback)Rose Tremain (author)
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.
'This short, sparely written novel reveals Tremain at her very best… a powerful account of loss.' – The Daily Express
'A remarkable and moving novel' - The Observer
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.
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 395 g
Dimensions: 222 x 144 x 26 mm
"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 *
"Tremain has the painterly genius of an Old Master, and she uses it to stunning effect... Glorious." -- Melissa Katsoulis * The Times *
"Elegant and spare, the novel traces the subtle nuances between friendship and passion, betrayal and disappointment... Tremain shows how good intentions can result in suffering, and does so with grace and tenderness." -- Fanny Blake * Daily Mail *
"Sentence by sentence, Rose Tremain's fiction provides rich pleasures: she renders her worlds...with vivid specificity and economical elegance. In her new novel The Gustav Sonata, the textures of her characters' surroundings are deftly drawn." -- Claire Messud * Financial Times *
"Reveals Tremain at her very best. It is a powerful account of loss, but also of friendship, of its inequalities and its compromises." -- Vanessa Berridge * Sunday Express *
"Tender, beautiful and finely characterized, this is the best book of the year so far for me" * WI Life *
"Tremain is a resourceful writer... The Gustav Sonata is a short book that manages to tell a gripping story about human fallibility while offering a meditation on life, time and desire." -- Pamela Norris * Literary Review *
"Does not disappoint in any way... Effortlessly constructed, deeply moving story... Written with exquisite simplicity and feeling, The Gustav Sonata is about discovering the freedom which loving bestows" * Woman & Home *
"Spare, deeply imagined and full of small gestures that draw the reader in towards deeper mysteries... Tremain is a writer of exemplary vision and particularity." -- Marcel Theroux * Guardian *
"Jewel of a novel... Tremain at her best" * S Magazine, Sunday Express *
"Haunting tale of friendship, betrayal and sadness... What Tremain omits, or merely hints at, is as vital as every word. This is a novel full of melancholy, but so is Mahler's Fifth Symphony, which is beautifully threaded through the story. We listen to its beauty as it transcends its tragedy. And, for much the same reasons, we read Tremain's exquisite prose." -- Anne Cunnigham * Irish Independent *
"*****...This is also a book about friendship and longing, unsentimentally told and bleakly precise... Tremain draws a conclusion that is simultaneously straightforward and sweetly transformative. Like so much else in this compassionate and musical novel, it hits a perfect note" -- Tim Martin * Telegraph *
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