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The Bellwether Revivals: A Novel by Benjamin…

The Bellwether Revivals: A Novel (edition 2012)

by Benjamin Wood

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2432147,405 (3.56)27
Title:The Bellwether Revivals: A Novel
Authors:Benjamin Wood
Info:Viking Adult (2012), Hardcover, 432 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, 21st century, novel, benjamin wood

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The Bellwether Revivals by Benjamin Wood


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English (16)  French (3)  Italian (1)  All (20)
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
This was just my kind of book! Reminiscent of 'Brideshead Revisited' with a dash of 'Phantom of the Opera' thrown in to spice it up, this tale kept me turning the pages from start to finish. Our working class narrator Owen drags us along with him as he becomes entangled with a slightly off-balanced group from the world of academia.
As Owen's relationship with Iris Bellwether and her brother Eden slowly deepens, the story mounts with tension bringing us to our edge of our seats as we read towards it's conclusion. ( )
  Iambookish | Dec 14, 2016 |
It isn't nearly as good as The Secret History. That is a great book, this one was barely ok. ( )
  ChrisWay | Jul 5, 2016 |
I picked this book up because of a blurb on the back cover that mentions the power of music. I read and scanned my way thru it but was disappointed in the analytics and the prose. Only the story line kept me going - some nice tie-ins, a few surprises.

( )
  Jeannine504 | Jan 23, 2016 |
Six-word review: Youth exerts strange power over friends.

Extended review:

From the beginning, The Bellwether Revivals has a creepy Tana French feel. In fact, the story of an outsider who joins a group of five friends with a pronounced strangeness about them, friends who share some mystic bond and engage in unusual ritual practices, is more than a little reminiscent of The Likeness.

The story takes off in an altogether different direction, however; the similarity is more one of atmosphere than of plot and character, although in both there is a dominant figure whose exceptional qualities rule the group. In the present case, an almost unearthly charisma gives rise to a collective delusion, with traumatic results.

Even though I'd place this one several notches below The Likeness on the scale for style, execution, characterization, and polish, I think it's likely to appeal to very similar readerly tastes. The dynamic among strikingly different personalities and the way they complement one another, and the effects that occur as a newcomer attempts to fit in, drive the plot to an unexpected outcome with an otherworldly feel.

The main character, Oscar, does not make much of an impression; he is more like the host of the drama, the pretext that brings the reader in, than a central figure. As such, he is not especially memorable. I liked the treatment of several secondary characters and an odd subplot, which, however, never really answers all my questions.

In sum, I liked it well enough, and it held my attention through 405 pages despite a number of copyediting lapses, which of course I marked; but I don't consider it a standout.

And I'm always going to hold something back from an author who writes "Woah." ( )
2 vote Meredy | Apr 26, 2015 |
Oscar's life as a care assistant is quiet and ordinary until one day, as he crosses the campus at Cambridge, he hears organ music that pulls him into the chapel. That single act brings him into contact with the Bellwethers: beautiful and interesting, Iris, and her fascinating and intense brother, Eden. Oscar is quickly drawn into the small circle of friends that orbit Eden and learns about Eden's obsession with his theories on music. Essentially, Eden believes that music does not just influence emotions but can actually cause them and that the powers of music are vastly untapped. Suddenly, Oscar is intwined in a strange effort to understand if Eden's powers with music are real or just the delusions of a brilliant mind.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book as I had mostly picked it up because it fit a challenge item and the description sounded halfway decent. Inside this book I found a beautiful, haunting, and, at moments, disturbing book that far exceeded my expectations. Oscar is a wonderful main character, steady but a little uncertain about his path in life, making his being pulled into the Bellwethers' circle so believable. The entire plot is well-structured and while never madly paced, it pulls you along and leaves you keenly interested in what Oscar's life will bring him next. The writing of this book is also beautiful and lyrical, clearly evoking both places and the feelings they provoke. At moments this novel reminded of both Brideshead Revisited and The Great Gatsby for some of its plot elements but the book is in no way a lesser version of either of these classics. A wonderful and lingering read. ( )
  MickyFine | Jan 13, 2015 |
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If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.  --Sir Francis Bacon
For my mother
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They heard the caterwaul of sirens, and saw the dust rising underneath the ambulance wheels at the far end of the driveway, and soon the darkening garden was a wash of flashing blue lights.
Oscar Lowe would later tell police that he couldn't remember the exact date he first laid eyes on the Bellwethers, though he knew for sure it had been a Wednesday.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0670023590, Hardcover)

A sophisticated debut novel about the hypnotic influence of love, the beguiling allure of money and the haunting power of music

Bright, bookish Oscar Lowe has escaped the squalid urban neighborhood where he was raised and made a new life for himself amid the colleges and spires of Cambridge. He has grown to love the quiet routine of his life as a care assistant at a local nursing home, where he has forged a close friendship with its most ill-tempered resident, Dr. Paulsen.

All that changes one fateful day when Oscar, while wandering the bucolic grounds of Cambridge, is lured into the chapel at Kings College by the otherworldly sound of an organ. It is here that he meets and falls in love with Iris Bellwether, a beautiful and enigmatic medical student. Drawn into the world of scholarship and privilege, Oscar soon becomes embroiled in the strange machinations of Iris’s older brother, Eden.

A charismatic but troubled musical prodigy, Eden convinces his sister and their close-knit circle of friends to participate in a series of disturbing experiments. Eden believe that music—with his expert genius to guide it—can cure people. As the line between genius and madness begins to blur, however, Oscar fears that it is danger and not healing that awaits them all—but it might be too late. . . .

A masterful work of psychological suspense and emotional resonance from a brilliant young talent, The Bellwether Revivals will hold readers spellbound until its breathtaking conclusion.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:14 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Nursing home assistant Oscar Lowe is drawn into the opulent world of the charismatic Bellwether siblings and falls in love with medical student Iris before realizing the dangers posed by troubled Eden Bellwether, who believes he can heal people with his music.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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