- Also check our best rated Biography reviews
The Music Room Hardcover – 3 Apr 2009
|New from||Used from|
Audio Download, Unabridged
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
'A small masterpiece, a tribute to the power of place, family and memory, and to a childhood that was part idyll, part nightmare'
-- Daily Telegraph - '50 Best Summer Reads'
'Fiennes has produced something very fine in this tender but unsentimental memorial to his brother, his home and his family.'
-- Independent on Sunday
'Fiennes has written a small masterpiece, a tribute to the power of place, family and memory.'
-- 50 Best Summer Reads, Daily Telegraph
'Filled with tender detail, humour and wisdom, this is a sensuous tribute to place, memory and the permanence of love' -- Able magazine
'It is a small gem about those important ties that bind.'
-- Daily Express
'Nostalgic, evocative and written with a very English restraint' -- Psychologies magazine
'That gentle soul William Fiennes... has now written The Music Room, a poignant memoir about the loss of a sibling.' -- The Sunday Telegraph
'The Music Room is beautifully written, and by turns lyrical, nostalgic and surprising. It is also unusual. There are many memoirs in the world and there are many accounts of scientific progress but there are precious few books that do both as well as Fiennes's does. Oliver Sacks's work springs to mind, of course, though his books, marvellous as they are, aren't nearly as accomplished as this one. The way that Fiennes deploys and marshals language here really is quite exceptional... This is a brilliant work that combines social observation, personal testimony and medical history in a unique, fresh and utterly captivating way.'
-- Carlo Gébler, Irish Times
'Twin threads intertwine in this memoir of family, home and filial love, which is beautifully written' -- Psychologies magazine
'William Fiennes writes about growing up in an extraordinary English castle along with his brother, Richard, who had epilepsy.' -- The Irish Times
'That gentle soul William Fiennes... has now written The Music Room, a poignant memoir about the loss of a sibling.'See all Product description
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
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 rural idyll and a celebration of the life of his epileptic brother Richard, who died at the age of 41. So refined and detailed is the account of bird life and aquatic life in the estate of Broughton Castle, the 700 year-old house where he grew up, that the reader has an impulse to draw a map of the place - its many rooms, some untouched for years, the extensive grounds comprising moat, streams and rivers teeming with pike, perch, roach and tench, and constantly watched over by a solitary heron and from a height by swarms of croaking rooks. And striding through this rustic paradise we find his elder brother Richard, pipe in hand with his Leeds United T-shirt and his wildly unpredictable behaviour. Richard is the fulcrum of our attention and our fears, a lovable demon who could not have been invented.
Fiennes’ writing has an exquisite lingering quality, as if he is reluctant to move on before he has extracted the last detail from a scene. Thus he describes going to wake his brother for lunch: ‘I carried the task within me like an executive power. I climbed the narrow stone stairs to the door decorated with Paninero stickers of Leeds United players and a plaque on which the words ‘Richard’s Room’ were printed beside a Leeds United crest. The handle was blue-green and moulded in the shape of a heron’s head and bill, and when you pressed down on the bill to open the door the heron seemed to nod in agreement that you should proceed inside.’ He would go exploring while his brother was at the epilepsy centre: ‘His room had high windows, a chest of drawers between them with a reproduction Leeds United trophy on top, a metal ring hanging from the wall, threaded with ties: wool, silk, polyester, spotted, striped, paisley, Leeds blue and gold, clip-on bows for church at Easter and Christmas, a many-stranded thickness sprouting like a horse’s tail from the ironstone.’
The author’s love of detail at times can become overwhelming, especially when he gives biographies of seventeenth and eighteenth century brain specialists in epilepsy. But for those interested Fiennes gives a full bibliography apart from his own account of sundry electrotherapists’ brain operations. He knows about epilepsy; his brother about Leeds Utd.
I disagree with the reviewer who seems to think Fiennes is pointing an amused finger at the working classes. The characters in the book are described with objectivity and affection - of course there is humour in the behaviour of others otherwise comedians would never make a living!
This is a book that deals with love and loss, with sadness and beauty and leaves the reader with much to ponder.
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Most recent customer reviews