From a generational talent and two-time Booker nominee, a tension-filled story about unacknowledged fears and looming inevitability
Alfred Busi, famed and beloved in his town for his music and songs, is now in his sixties, mourning the recent death of his wife and quietly living out his days alone in the large villa he has always called home. The night before he is due to attend a ceremony at the town’s avenue of fame, Busi is attacked by a creature he disturbs as it raids the contents of his larder. Busi is convinced that the thing that attacked him was no animal, but a child, “innocent and wild,” and his words fan the flames of old rumour–of an ancient race of people living in the bosk surrounding the town–and new controversy: the town’s paupers, the feral wastrels at its edges, must be dealt with. Once and for all.
As Busi’s nephew’s ambitious plans for himself and for the town develop he is able to fan the flames of rumour, and soon Busi and the town he loves will be altered irrevocably.
The Melody is a story about grief and aging, about reputation and the loss of it, about love and music and the peculiar way myth seeps into real life. And it is a political novel, too–a rallying cry to protect those we persecute. It is lyrical and warm, intimate and epic, a powerful future classic.
Out June 19, 2018
I received this book in exchange for my honest review.
The Melody is a deep, thought-provoking novel that makes the reader examine human nature in ways it normally ignores. A lot of emphasis in reviews seem to be about the ‘make-believed’ place Crace sets up to unfold his examination, and really more focus should be on the emphatic nature of the main character’s thoughts and emotions regarding what’s happening to him, his home and his life.
Beautifully written, mesmerizing and perplexing at times, this is one of the better literary fictions I’ve read in a long time. It moves smoothly along and will tear at your heart. I love the fact that Crace wrote about an older character who is facing his own mortality and what it means to the rest of his life and those around him.
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