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An Equal Music (1999)

by Vikram Seth

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,633543,846 (3.73)96
A second-time-around romance between Michael, a violinist and Julia, a pianist. He runs into her on a London bus and learns she is married to a banker and has a son. They resume their love, but drama lies ahead as Julia is going deaf. By the author of A Suitable Boy.

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English (47)  French (1)  Catalan (1)  Swedish (1)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  Hebrew (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (54)
Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
(8.5)I really enjoyed this book which I would dub a love story, not just of the human kind. The author conveys his own passion for music through his protagonists and even though my knowledge of classical music is limited, this didn't really diminish my enjoyment. ( )
  HelenBaker | Mar 16, 2018 |
An equal music, is mostly about the beauty of music. Novel tries to show how a musician can love music to such great depth. The love Michael has for Julia is like his love of music. It is deep, inexplicable, stressful for Julia is married and not his to love as his violin is not his.
Novel rather too deeply into music details for my level of interest especially when scenes are of the Maggiore Quartet. But novel is beautifully written. ( )
  Smits | Dec 10, 2017 |
This was a rather tough read. Michael is second violinist in a string quartet. The story begins 10 years after losing the love of his life, Julia-- but he left her! We never find out why, except as he narrates his story, it is apparent that he is 'nuts'. And then he meets her again; finding out she is married with a son. They start a renewed love affair but he starts with self-defeating behavior- has panic attacks that ruin his career with the quartet. Strange book. ( )
  camplakejewel | Sep 21, 2017 |
music, quartet, Julia — deaf
love of violin — good w/ CD to Lynn

Michael Holme is a violinist, a member of the successful Maggiore Quartet. He has long been haunted, though, by memories of the pianist he loved and left ten years earlier, Julia McNicholl. Now Julia, married and the mother of a small child, unexpectedly reenters his life and the romance flares up once more.

Against the magical backdrop of Venice and Vienna, the two lovers confront the truth about themselves and their love, about the music that both unites and divides them, and about a devastating secret that Julia must finally reveal.
  christinejoseph | May 10, 2017 |
For 'read but unowned' in my tags, substitute 'thrown away'. I bought cheap copies of this and another novel about musicians following a recommendation, but I obviously have different standards to the other eager reviewer. For a start, a narrator whose head isn't jammed up his own backside. Julia, the long-suffering object (and I don't use the term lightly) of his affections, is a great character, and I would have loved to read the same story from her perspective, but Michael is an egotistical twit. He abandons her in Vienna, while suffering some pretentious existential musical crisis, then decides that a decade is a good length of time to try and pick up where they left off, despite Julia having married and moved on with her life. She has a bit of a fling with him while trying to deal with her own (actually important and life-changing) issues, then tries to shake him off - so he turns into a crazy stalker. I actually really hated him, and had to remind myself that I was only reading about a fictional character - and if Vikram Seth, who has written better novels, was aiming to create such a loathsome protagonist, then more power to his word processor. Basically, another novel about music where the characters suffer for the author's art. ( )
1 vote AdonisGuilfoyle | Oct 19, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Seth, Vikramprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jonkheer, ChristienTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mossel, BabetTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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A second-time-around romance between Michael, a violinist and Julia, a pianist. He runs into her on a London bus and learns she is married to a banker and has a son. They resume their love, but drama lies ahead as Julia is going deaf. By the author of A Suitable Boy.

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While a music student in Vienna, violinist Michael Holme falls in love with pianist Julia McNicholl. They play together in a string trio, but when Michael has a nervous breakdown because of tensions with his stern and demanding violin teacher he abruptly leaves Vienna–and Julia–without warning. When, after some months pass, he tries to contact Julia again, he gets no reply. Ten years later, still in love with her, he meets her again in London when she attends a concert he is giving with his string quartet, the Maggiore. Still a performing pianist, she is now married to an American banker, has a child, and because of an auto-immune disease, is gradually going deaf. Unable to resist the power of their past, they begin to see each other again, this time under the shadow of Julia’s marriage and her tragic hearing loss. Julia agrees to tour Vienna and Venice with Michael and the Maggiore Quartet and for a brief, magical time everything seems possible.

A tour de force of poetic, impassioned writing, An Equal Music is an unforgettable tale of love lost and nearly regained, its events unfolding in the dramatic settings of contemporary London, Vienna, and Venice. Brilliantly interweaving themes of loss, longing, and the power of music, Vikram Seth has created a deeply moving story about the strands of passion that run through all our lives.
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