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The Big Music
 
 

The Big Music [Kindle Edition]

Kirsty Gunn
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £9.99
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Review

'A masterpiece ... I cannot think of a more entirely original, enchanting and enchanted book.' --Michael Bywater, INDEPENDENT

'One of the finest novels of the past decade.' --Gabriel Josipovici, TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT Books of the Year

'Remarkable ... demands that readers put themselves into the same headspace as they would before embarking on a novel by, say, William Faulkner, James Joyce or Woolf. As with those modernists, there is also a story here, a moving one, involving emotionally distant fathers and self-exiled sons ... Gunn is to be applauded for her ambition.' --Susan Elderkin, FINANCIAL TIMES

'The attentive voice of Gunn's graceful prose [places] the reader inside the space of the music. It is a remarkable book.' --Kathryn Sutherland, TLS Books of the Year

'The Big Music matches the structure of its story to the virtuoso improvisations of the Highland piper's art, but the pulsing bass here remains a moving story of fathers, children and a culture in peril.' ----Boyd Tonkin, INDEPENDENT, Books of the Year

'The Big Music is both challenging and conventional, a 'novel' which will satisfy those who love poetry and narrative prose alike; it is often lyrical, sometimes flinty, soft as a bog, or as potently smouldering as a peat fire, smoking, secretive, intriguing ... It is rare to read anything so riveting ... it captivates and illuminates.' --Tom Adair, SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY

'The Big Music matches the structure of its story to the virtuoso improvisations of the Highland piper's art, but the pulsing bass here remains a moving story of fathers, children and a culture in peril.' ----Boyd Tonkin, INDEPENDENT, Books of the Year

'The Big Music is both challenging and conventional, a 'novel' which will satisfy those who love poetry and narrative prose alike; it is often lyrical, sometimes flinty, soft as a bog, or as potently smouldering as a peat fire, smoking, secretive, intriguing ... It is rare to read anything so riveting ... it captivates and illuminates.' --Tom Adair, SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY

Book Description

Shortlisted for the James Tait Black Prize, this is a story about family, love and the power of the imagination.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2026 KB
  • Print Length: 490 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0571282334
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber Fiction (3 July 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0084E0G3K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #170,354 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Big Music 19 Jun 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
This book explores the tensions that exist within a family group, while providing the reader with some insights into the nature of piobaireachd. However, it is far too long and repetitive (we get it, Kirsty), and I found the author's style irritating at times. It is a pity that a CD was not included in the project, as we would then have had something closer to a"Gesamtkunstwerk" (this word is misprinted in the glossary, incidentally). I didn't really warm to any of the characters, who seemed to me to lack depth, and I didn't think that the author's attempt to show how their fortunes are reflected in the structure of piobaireachd really comes off.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By rogerw
Format:Hardcover
Works of fiction have their own particular textures (just as people do) - and are expressions of human existence. This innovative work affects an explicit structure in which footnotes abound, and the main narrative text of some 376pp is followed by c68pp of appendices. Dissenters will no doubt find an irritation in this, but I'm currently at p133 of the story and am enthralled, immersed - its texture is like a wreathing of airs.

Kirsty Gunn talks a bit about it on youtube if you search - there's also a short film that draws from the book and could be read as a promo but is a short artwork in its own right.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TImeless poetry 29 July 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It spoke eloquently of the place the book was set which happens to be where I was born and brought up. There is nothing sentimental in its expression there is instead the loneliness, timelessness and the poetry of that isolated part of Scotland. The story is firmly rooted in an authentic heritage and is written in the form of a pibroch leaving the reader with the haunting mystery of that beautiful music.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable achievement............... 25 Feb 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This novel, for my money, represents a remarkable achievement. It sets out to explore the stories of a small group of emotionally linked characters, their home 'The Grey House' - in the past a summer school for bagpipe music - and the landscape in which the house is situated: the remote region of Sutherland in Scotland. Kirsty Gunn also wants to replicate in words the way music can suggest qualities of feeling and location that might live beyond words, or just out of sight in the landscape, but which unify characters and place. The narrative structure and the prose style replicate the structure and sound of the `classical compositional form of the Highland bagpipe', the piobaireachd or pibroch, to achieve this: `the music that sits behind the words' (p.310). I didn't find the novel the least bit academic or arid and the footnotes and appendices draw you deeper into the novel's musical and emotional structure and into the history of the house and its occupants, giving the characters ballast and the location vividness. The novel is beautifully written, reading at times like prose poetry, yet is not difficult to read. The characters have depth, are convincing, and the elegiac final 'movement' of quiet loves, hidden love and love revealed in music carries a considerable, cumulative, emotional punch. If it didn't sound off-putting I'd call it a modernist masterpiece. Whatever you call it this is a novel which is compelling, deeply affecting and fully realised in its multi-layered richness.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Outstanding stuff. All the reviews have it right. This is a must-read for anyone who likes piping, Sutherland or family dynamics.
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