Monday 8 May 2023

Book Review: The Variations by Patrick Langley (Literary Fiction)

Title: The Variations
Author: Patrick Langley
Publisher: Fitzcarraldo Editions
Publication Date: 7 September 2023
Pages: 462
Format: eBook - PDF
Genre: Literary Fiction
Source: ARC via NetGalley

Selda Heddle, a famously reclusive composer, is found dead in a snowy field near her Cornish home. She was educated at Agnes's Hospice for Acoustically Gifted Children, which for centuries has offered its young wards a grounding in the gift - an inherited ability to tune into the voices and sounds of the past. When she dies, Selda's gift passes down to her grandson Wolf, who must make sense of her legacy, and learn to live with the newly unleashed voices in his head. Ambitious and exhilarating, The Variations is a novel of startling originality about music and the difficulty - or impossibility - of living with the past.


The Variations was an intriguing and atmospheric work that was part homage to music, part family drama, part magical realism and part a thoughtful reflection on how we deal with the past. There was a lyrical feel to the writing, almost dreamlike at times, and the story held my interest throughout as we moved between the three characters' POVs. This is definitely a work that will stick in my mind long after reading, and I recommend it to readers looking for a music-inspired literary fiction read. I would certainly pick up more books by this author in the future, and I am giving The Variations 4.5 stars

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

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