Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday Find: The Music Room by William Fiennes

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The Music Room by William Fiennes

From Publishers Weekly

Just after Fiennes (Snow Geese) was born, his family moved into a medieval English estate that included a castle surrounded by a moat. The estate was an inheritance passed down from his father's ancestors since the 14th century. The castle in particular proves to be the book's most evocative metaphor for how every man is and is not an island. The book is part memoir, part journalistic profile and philosophical digression, all revolving around Richard, Fiennes eldest brother, who suffered from extreme epilepsy. In taut and exacting prose that profits grandly from vivid descriptions of the estate grounds and the working-class people who care for it, Fiennes recounts life alone in a home that was mostly only semiprivate. It was often used by TV and film crews as a backdrop. His older twin brother and sister went to boarding school while Richard convalesced in an insane asylum. Fiennes recalls the trials of familial love punctuated by a brother's violent seizures and outbursts (once scalding their mother's face with a hot cast-iron pan). His portrayal of Richard, moreover, is at once affectionate and brazenly honest. Fiennes allows him to come off as sick, magical yet somewhat boring (he talks incessantly about his favorite soccer team). The book feels fluffed up at times with asides on the history of epilepsy, but more often than not these serve the greater purpose of evoking a sense of continuity and reflection.


8 comments:

Veens said...

interesting book!

Mary said...

This sounds very good. I'll look for it. Thanks for highlighting it!

Missy B. said...

Great find! :)

bermudaonion said...

That's a fantastic find and a gorgeous cover.

Diane said...

Good find!! This one is enroute to me. I had been eying it as well.

Cat said...

That lovely cover really draws you in. I'll keep my eyes open for this one.

Book Dragon said...

Well done, I'll check into it.

Amy said...

I just read a blurb about this book yesterday and now here it is in your blog! Funny how that happens! I think the book sounds captivating so I've added it to my lengthy tbr list!