Monday 12 November 2012

Dissonance by Stephen Orr - Book Review

Title: Dissonance
Author: Stephen Orr
Publisher: Wakefield Press
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 408
Format: Paperback
Genre: Literary Fiction
Source: Bought Copy

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Dissonance begins with piano practice. Fifteen-year-old Erwin Hergert is forced to tackle scales and studies for six hours a day by his mother, Madge, who is determined to produce Australia's first great pianist. To help Erwin focus, Madge has exiled her husband, Johann, to the back shed. Jo is diagnosed with cancer and Madge allows him back inside, but only for long enough to die.

Madge takes Erwin to Hamburg to continue his studies. Erwin prospers in Germany with his new teacher until he meets a neighbour, sixteen-year-old Luise, and finds there's more to life than music....
(Goodreads Synopsis)

When I first started reading this book, I thought it would get at least four stars. How could I resist buying a book about music with links to Percy Grainger? Plus, the book started strongly and I was instantly swept into Erwin's world.

For the first three parts, I was entranced and unwilling to put the book down, but, for me, the ending just fell a little flat.

The horrors of his time in Poland never really touched me and I was left asking: yes, but what happened next? There was just so much left unresolved for me to feel entirely comfortable as I turned the last page.

Also, while a couple of mentions are made to the similarities between Erwin and Percy Grainger, it irked me that Erwin himself never seems to pick up on it - especially since he admires Grainger's music and must have known a little bit about him.

But this book still gets three stars as it is still a well-written piece - descriptive and captivating - and it is probably just the Grainger fan in me finding fault.

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