Music, in a Foreign Language (Original Fiction in Paperback) (Dedalus Original Fiction in Paperback) Paperback – 17 Feb 1994
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An intriguing and illuminating post-modern meditation on betrayal, death, and paths not taken, both personal and historical. Employing fiction within a fiction, Crumey constructs a philosophical jigsaw puzzle." The Herald
"This intricate, demanding story of political and personal commitment and betrayal introduces a young master of postmodernist irony who will remind many readers of the brainier postwar European novelists. A formidable debut, from a writer whose possibilities, seem virtually unlimited." Kirkus
"Music in a Foreign Language used the brilliant conceit of a Britain just emerging from 40 years of polite Stalinism as a platform for some glittering intellectual fireworks." Boyd Tonkin in The New Statesman
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It also has a rather suprisingly good poem about C P Cavafy in it! Well worth a read.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
This, his first novel, is Borgesian in nature. Set in an alternative United Kingom where communism falls just as it does in Eastern Europe, the story is a love story, a thriller, an excursus on writing. The novel is like a mutli-layered Chinese box. There are various levels of reality. Particularly enjoyable are the stories of Galli, a fictitious writer in the manner of Italo Calvino or Borges.
Continually enjoyable. Wonderfully written, this novel won the Saltire Book award for the Best first Scottish Book of the Year.
It is very rarely that someone bursts onto the literary scene with something new to say, and a distinctive voice.
Crumey is one such person, and he continues to improve.
If you enjoy Music in a Foreign Language, try Pfitz.
Readers of Steve Erickson, especially fans of Amnesiascope, or Donald Bartheleme may also like to give Crumey a try.
The story kept my attention sharply focused with its plot device of nesting layer upon layer, character upon character, yet ultimately resolving the plot threads. I confess to having used a numbering scheme to note whether the story was a character's line, or the storyline of a character in a book the character was reading, and so on. I'm delighted to see Crumey has continued to write, and will certainly be seeking these out as well.