- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 5 hours and 32 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: ISIS Audio Books
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 26 Oct. 2009
- Language: English
- ASIN: B002UEYA46
The Music Room Audio Download – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
If one didn't know otherwise, one might take this memoir for a first-person fiction. It seems to me that Fiennes takes a step back from the specificity of time and place which a factual memoir would emphasise; for example, the phrase "Broughton Castle" does not occur at all. There are many reconstructed conversations which, I suspect, are a long way from pure reportage. It is like an imaginative and beautifully-written novel, interspersed with accounts of past scientific research into epilepsy (complete with a list of sources at the end).
The book covers a roughly 25-year time span, up to the time of Richard's death at age 41, a death which suddenly and unexpectedly intrudes into the narrative by way of a 10-word sentence (which, coincidentally, I reached just hours after hearing the news of young Ivan Cameron). We read how the young narrator grew up with the regular intrusion of film crews and well-known TV stars as part of normal domestic life, and we can imagine his surprise on discovering that most homes do not have such experiences!
This book will be of interest to anyone who has visited Broughton Castle, and to anyone else who enjoys an excellently-written account of growing up in a stately home.
Not a word is out of place (without any kind of conscious `literariness') as he navigates his way through this story. And what stood out most of all for me was the very ordinariness of the family: despite their home and life-style, despite Richard's illness, at heart this is a story about the deep, unquestioning, patient and tolerant love that makes the family what it is. The narrator says that he always understood that Richard was `different' from other brothers but he never fantasises an ideal Richard. The brother he has is who he is, and that is accepted.
The portrait of Richard himself is both harrowing and immensely tender: his illness is so bad that he is sent away to an epilepsy treatment centre during the week and only comes home at weekends. Gentle and somehow innocent, he slides into a pattern of violence, aggression, anger that takes it toll on everyone around him, not least those who love him best.
Fiennes writes with a very light touch: nothing is over-stated, everything restrained and spoken with dignity and respect. Images of Richard's father leaning against the house to draw strength from its centuries-old stone; his mother washing her adult son after he has wet the bed again, are offset by shimmering pictures of Richard holding an injured bird in his huge hands, and his triumphant recital of a remembered poem at his birthday party.
Ultimately this is a compassionate and very humane book, and one imbued with a kind of love not often celebrated in literature. Highly recommended.
One of the unfortunate side effects of epilepsy is mood changes and aggression. It is a tribute to the book, the author and his family that even while describing how difficult and at times dangerous Richard could seem, the whole atmosphere is one of love and acceptance. The prose is enviably bewitching and evocative. The whereabouts of the castle is not mentioned but is easy to discover; however surely the exact location is not important...this is another world, almost another "lost domain." The book stays in the mind for a very long time after it is finished.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Read this in a book Club, beautiful descriptive text. I loved it but not an information book on epilepsy necessarily, just one persons reflection on growing up with a sibling with... Read morePublished 2 months ago by jennyb
Fiennes, William. The Music Room
William Fiennes’ account of his childhood in a moated castle is more than a memoir but rather a tribute to the enduring quality of a... Read more
Gave this book as a birthday present and recipient loved it.Published 6 months ago by Deidre A. Webb
A strange book. I had to read it for my Book Club choice. We have not had our discussion yet so I do not know the reaction of others. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Rowan
Excellent service, book as described, arrived when promised, great value. Thank you, can't ask for more!Published 9 months ago by Ann Norman