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A Darker Music: A Novel by Maris Morton
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A Darker Music: A Novel (original 2010; edition 2011)

by Maris Morton

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Member:judylou
Title:A Darker Music: A Novel
Authors:Maris Morton
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A darker music by Maris Morton (2010)

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Mary accepts a position as the temporary housekeeper at Downe, a merino stud, set in the Western Australia bush. Instead of the gracious homestead she is expecting, Downe is a home of secrets and shadows. A Darker Music is a haunting and lyrical novel of quiet tragedy. The writing is elegant and evocative, the pace simmers with quiet anxiety and dread. Morton incorporates the lifestyle and minutae of the farm operations and creates a sense of place with lush descriptions of the station and its surroundings. Yet they are simply a backdrop to the finely crafted characters. The physical isolation of the merino stud mirrors the emotional isolation of the homesteads inhabitants.A Darker Music is really Clio's story. At first Clio is barely tolerable, until Morton skilfully reveals Clio's past and present as she takes Mary into her confidence. Once a promising musician, Clio has endured unbearable loss, and we slowly learn the truth of her heartbreaking circumstances.Father and son, Paul and Martin, are brooding and silent men. It is through Clio's story that we learn their true character. Their brooding presence, and absence, is cleverly exploited by Morton.The lesser characters provide interesting context and contrast to the main characters.A Darker Music is an incredible debut novel, quiet and dark, there is no happy ending. The stunning climax will haunt me for sometime yet.Just and interesting aside, A Darker Music was the winner of the inaugural Scribe Fiction Prize. Maris Morton is 72 and this is her first novel.*I won a copy of this novel from the publisher through the Goodreads FirstReads program ( )
  shelleyraec | May 9, 2011 |
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The man that hath no music in himself,

Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,

Is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils;

The motions of his spirit are dull as night,

And his affections dark as Erebus.

Let no such man be trusted.

---William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice
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The young fellow outside the front door was staring at something across the street, jingling keys in his pocket.
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When Mary Lanyon takes on the job of temporary housekeeper at Downe, a famous Merino stud, she is looking forward to staying in a gracious homestead with the wealthy Hazlitt family. The owner’s wife, Clio, has been ill, and Mary’s task is to get the house back into shape in the lead-up to the wedding of the only son and heir, Martin.
When she arrives, however, Mary realises things are not right. Clio Hazlitt rarely ventures from her room. The house is shabby, redolent of dust and secrets. As a friendship develops between the women, Mary discovers answers to the questions that have puzzled her: What is the nature of Clio’s illness? What has caused the grim estrangement between Clio and her husband? And why did Clio give up playing music, when she says it meant so much to her?
A Darker Music is a gripping mystery that takes you into the heart of rural Western Australia, and into one family’s troubled past.
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When Mary Lanyon takes on the job of temporary housekeeper at Downe, her task is to get the house back into shape for the wedding of the only son and heir, Martin. When she arrives, however, Mary realises things are not right. The owner's wife, Clio, rarely ventures from her room. The house is shabby, redolent of dust... and secrets.… (more)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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