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FROM THE MAN BOOKER SHORTLISTED AUTHOR OF HARVEST
'The Melody takes its place among his finest [novels] . . . an ecological fable for modern times' Guardian
'Seductively atmospheric . . . deeply moving' Daily Mail
Alfred Busi, famed in his town for his music and songs, is mourning the recent death of his wife and quietly living out his days in the large villa he has always called home. Then one night Busi is attacked by a creature he disturbs as it raids the contents of his larder. Busi is convinced that what assaulted him was no animal, but a child, `innocent and wild', and his words fan the flames of old rumour - of an ancient race of people living in the bosk surrounding the town - and new controversy: the town's paupers, the feral wastrels at its edges, must be dealt with. Once and for all.
Lyrical and warm, intimate and epic, The Melody by Jim Crace tracks the few days that will see Busi and the town he loves altered irrevocably. This is a story about grief and ageing, about reputation and the loss of it, about love and music and the peculiar way myth seeps into real life. And it is a political novel too - a rallying cry to protect those we persecute.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
As touching as a well-made melody * Daily Telegraph * Terrific . . . part political allegory, part dream and part deeply tender meditation on grief * Metro * Jim Crace writes with great flair and inimitable imagination . . . The Melody is a lyrical and tender meditation on marital love and loss that further secures his position as one of Britain's most distinctive and accomplished novelists . . . The simplicity, poise and conversation elegance of Crace's prose allows him to give full rein to the expression of emotion . . . A book at once full of wry humour and achingly sad, The Melody is every bit as strange, other-worldly, and finely wrought as readers have come to expect of Crace. This is a fine contribution to the oeuvre of perhaps the most underrated novelist writing in English today. * Financial Times * If the novel has a political agenda, it resides in its interlocking parables of gentrification and the stigmatization of the poor . . . impeccably wrought * TLS * The book retains a lingering power - not least in Crace's gentle reminder that, although the personal may well be political, it's often easier to pretend otherwise -- Anthony Cummins * Observer * A powerful novel about music, human nature and poverty . . . only Kazuo Ishiguro rivals Crace's range in terms of emotional power and unusual subject matter * Financial Times * Throughout the book, Crace's measured, subtly captivating prose is often exquisite . . . A fine book about ageing and grief and the way in which the folkloric can impact upon real life, it's another choice example of this twice-Booker-nominated English writer's unique gift * National * An ambitious, powerful work which won't disappoint his growing band of enthusiasts * Big Issue * Hypnotic and powerful . . . enchanting and disconcerting . . . The Melody is a reminder that we neither own nor control the natural world * Irish Times * The Melody is at its most poignant on the subject of growing old . . . every sentence is packed with Crace's characteristic lyricism . . . Anybody who reads The Melody will find plenty to admire and chew on * The Times * The Melody takes its place among his finest [novels] . . . grippingly symbolic and intensely real . . . an ecological fable for modern times * Guardian * This could have been a straightforward political allegory about man's inhumanity to man . . . but Crace's seductively atmospheric novel, suffused as it is with archetypes and the stuff of dreams, is much richer, slyer and more mysterious. It's an elegy, too - for lost love, youth and talent - and deeply moving * Daily Mail * Strange, unsettling, brilliant - everything you'd expect from one of our most original and inventive novelists * Observer *