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The Devil's Music Hardcover – 6 Jul 2009

3.9 out of 5 stars 77 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; First Edition edition (6 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074759869X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747598695
  • Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 2.9 x 22.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 77 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,164,066 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


'This intricately structured, brilliantly observed modern take on a family saga is both passionate and moving and the prose snaps, crackles and pops with gorgeous detail' Lesley Glaister 'Vividly and intensely written' Jane Rogers, author of Mr Wroe's Virgins 'Jane Rusbridge has a gift for evoking both characters and place - The Devil's Music was pure pleasure to read. Sensuously written and beautifully woven together, the various strands of the story converge in a heartrending - and heartwarming - climax' Kathy Page, author of The Story of My Face 'The Devil's Music is that rare thing, a novel that is as bold as it is subtle. It's a powerful and deeply affecting story of the bond between a mother and her children. It's also a sharp expose of the devastating effects of the taboos that govern motherhood Jane Rusbridge is a brilliant new voice. She evokes hearth-and-home in 1950s Britain with terrific delicacy. This story is fresh, vivid - and startlingly contemporary' Alison MacLeod, author of The Changeling


It is 1958 and the Sputnik satellite has been launched into Space. Back on earth, Andy's mother, once an ambitious, energetic nurse is struggling against the bonds of marriage. Her days are filled with making lists of domestic duties and caring for Elaine, her new baby daughter: a baby her husband insists is 'not quite all there'. Andy watches as his mother twists away into her own suffocating sadness, leaving him to seek solace in the knots his rope-maker grandfather taught him, and his fascination with the great escapologist: Harry Houdini. Andy's grandfather helps him to master the Carrick Bend, the Midshipman's Hitch and the Five-Strand Star Knot. But he also teaches him that whistling is the devil's music. It can call up a storm. When a young painter hired to decorate their house coaxes responses from soft, silent Elaine, he seems to know how to call Andy's mother back from the grief in which she's lost. Torn between her love for her children and the fleeting chance of freedom, she must decide whether she has the courage to attempt her own escape.Then one day, at The Siding - the old railway carriage that serves as their family's seaside retreat - Andy's mother leaves him on the wind-chopped beach in charge of his baby sister, and through his actions Andy unwittingly whistles up a storm.

Three decades later, when his father dies and his other sister calls him home, Andrew returns from self-imposed exile to The Siding, the place where his life first unravelled. Looking back on the broken strands of his childhood, he tries to weave them together. Yet it's the arrival of a captivating stranger that finally loosens the noose of sorrow and silence that has formed around his life.

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