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The Music Room Audio Cassette – Audiobook, 1 Oct 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 87 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: ISIS Audio Books (1 Oct. 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 075314624X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753146248
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)

Product Description

Review

An artful memory piece about a unique home life.

Exemplary.

Exemplary. "

An artful memory piece about a unique home life. "

Humane rather than melodramatic, a lovely memoir rich with poignancy of family and place.

A haunting lament for a life that could have been and the love that remained for a broken mind.--Amanda Foreman, author of The Duchess --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

'That gentle soul William Fiennes... has now written The Music Room, a poignant memoir about the loss of a sibling.' --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Broughton Castle in Oxfordshire is a 700-year-old stately home which nowadays attracts numerous visitors and film crews. William Fiennes, whose family has lived there for centuries, is a journalist and writer whose previous autobiographical book, The Snow Geese, ended with him returning to Broughton. He has now written his own account of growing up there, in particular with his older brother Richard who suffered from severe epilepsy and was often very difficult and even violent.

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.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I did find this a bit heavy-going at first but I stuck with it. It is essentually a story of epilepsy and the effect the sufferer has on the rest of the family. William's brother Richard has epilepsy and this has caused brainn damage. Richard is expelled from a couple of epilepsy centres because of his violence. When he is home in the holidays the rest of the family treat him normally. William doesn't understand that his brother has no control over his emotions so as a young boy tests him to see how far he can go. It's only has William gets older he realises the full extent of Richard's condition. Richard will never be a fully independent adult as he himself will be. Sadly Rich dies in the epilepsy centre during a bad seizure. He is forty-one. Very poignant, Rich's mum is particularly upset at the death of one of her children. All the way through the book is interspersed with the history of the treatment and causes of epilepsy from the very early times in ancinet Greece to the present day. Really interesting read. Buy this book, I guarantee you won't disappointed.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Music Room is an elegiac memoir that interweaves three strands: the narrator's own idyllic childhood in a historic castle in the Midlands; a portrait of his elder brother, Richard, who suffers from severe epilepsy and brain damage; and a medical history of the understanding of epilepsy and brain neurological function. None of which might sound particularly riveting, but Fiennes has won prizes before and this book shows why.

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.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
A book to enjoy, beautifully written with delightful imagery. Each chapter is to be savoured, not rushed through but allowed to permeate through your soul.

A book clearly showing the love of parents for a son and a younger brother for his older brother who has severe epilepsy.

I loved the apparent ordinariness of living in a castle, the casual acceptance opening the castle and grounds in the summer for fairs and fundraising events with the resulting hordes of visitors.

The way in which the parents cope with their oldest son's extreme mood swings is amazing and how the younger brother (the writer) did not seem aware of the need to treat him any differently was a tribute to the acceptance of his brother's disability. References to treatment for epilepsy were interesting and some might say it interferes with the enjoyment of the book but I did not find this to be the case.

I have to admit to a longing to have been brought up in this particular castle, the freedom to explore, no protective parents stopping the adventures of the younger son as he fishes or swims in the moat, climbs into the tree house and wanders through the towers and rooms of the castle, sometimes worried about ghosts.

A lovely book to take away on a quiet weekend.
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