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The Music Room by William Fiennes
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The Music Room

by William Fiennes

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1707109,915 (3.95)9
William Fiennes spent his childhood in a moated castle, the perfect environment for a child with a brimming imagination. It is a house alive with history and beauty, but as a young boy growing up he is equally in awe of his brother. Eleven years older and a magnetic presence, Richard suffers from severe epilepsy. His energy influences the rhythms of the family, and his story inspires a journey towards an understanding of the mind. The chill of the "dark historical spaces" coexists with the warmth of the family kitchen, and the surrounding landscapes are distinguished by secret haunts and the moat's depths. Bursting with tender detail, this is a tribute to place, memory and the permanence of love.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
I found this a very interesting book. It is a very heartfelt family memoir and easily explains the difficulties that can arise in coping with someone with severe epilepsy within the family. In addition I found the historical information about epilepsy and the various treatment conditions that have been attempted quite informative and I think this would be very educational, in particular, to those with no real knowledge of the condition. In addition, as someone with epilepsy myself, I did find the book emotional in parts. ( )
  thegeneral | Jun 18, 2015 |
bookshelves: radio-4x, published-1992, autobiography-memoir, winter-20132014
Read from February 01 to 07, 2014

BBC description: Dan Stevens reads William Fiennes' memoir of his magical childhood in a moated castle in which he grew up with his severely epileptic older brother.

From wiki: This fictionalized memoir of his childhood and his epileptic brother is set in (the never identified) Broughton Castle. It has been described as "a beautiful poem of a tribute to his family, his parents, the magical, moated castle that was his home".

1. The five-year-old William is preoccupied with fishing for pike in the castle's moat. Richard's seizures become increasingly worse, and a severe form of epilepsy is diagnosed.

2. Eight-year-old William finds a secret door in the attic. Richard suffers dark mood swings, but enjoys pipe smoking.

3. Richard is captivated by a heron, but is also gripped by a furious black mood.

4. Richard's behaviour is increasingly problematic, but there is still pleasure to be found.

5. William, now 17, prepares to leave home and Richard finds a more even keel.

Broughton Castle

3* The Snow Geese
2* The Music Room ( )
  mimal | Feb 8, 2014 |
Fiennes' memoir lets us know that no family has to be problem-free to live in the "regular" world. It might not be the best of all possible worlds, but if you learn how to function with the difficulties, to live in an adjusted household with the difficulties of disabilities and the added daily life function, there is always a glimmer of hope, and love.

The memoirist deftly places commentary on the history of psychosurgery and other corporeal treatments in with beautiful (some rather brutal, but still beautifully done) portraits of home. Fieness plays these early moments against Richard's turbulent but fulfilling life at home and his sometimes-good behavior at group. It is my feeling that Fiennes never does mention modern medical treatments or not even medicine in passing not because of omission but because he hides behind outdated treatments. Of course his who family shuns major medical care, but, with several chapters of disasters, he at least should tell why his family chose the therapy that it did.

No quiet home in the suburbs for this family, of course: they live in a castle. Rather than hiding their son away, he is, so to speak, the king of the hill. He goes out with them, he is a public figure, and he is not saint. Fiennes always stops just short of letting him be canonized: Richard was human, he says, but he was distinguished enough to be remembered for the individual--always, we are reminded, he is an individual--but there is plenty in this book for the reader to walk away with something. ( )
1 vote ijustgetbored | Jul 8, 2010 |
The Music Room by William Fiennes is a small book that is not small at all. Quite extraordinary and heartwrenching it tells the story of a young man growing up in an environment of privilege, tempered and made human by his brother's severe epilepsy. At the same time it explores the biology behind the disease. Truly fascinating and beautifully written. ( )
  BarbN | Jun 19, 2010 |
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W.W. Norton

2 editions of this book were published by W.W. Norton.

Editions: 0393072584, 0393338789

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