England, 1923. A gentleman critic named Leslie Shepherd tells the macabre story of a gifted young composer, Charles Jessold. On the eve of his revolutionary new operas premier, Jessold murders his wife and her lover, and then commits suicide in a scenario that strangely echoes the plot of his opera which Shepherd has helped to write. But as Shepherd renders the composers life from his neophyte years as a composer to his ultimate ghastly demise a shadow is soon cast on Shepherds role in the tragic events. This ambitiously intricate novel is set against a turbulent moment in music history, when atonal sounds first reverberated through the concert halls of Europe, just as the continent readied itself for war. What if Jessolds opera was not only a betrayal of Shepherd, but of England as well?
Wesley Stace has crafted a dazzling story of counter-melodies and counter-narratives that will keep you guessing to the end.
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"Starred Review. Stace's versatility makes this one just about irresistible." - Kirkus
"Wesley Stace's tale of music and murder is a baroque intellectual thriller, wittily erudite and psychologically astute." - Alex Ross, author of The Rest is Noise
"This is one of the few novels I have read that is truly musical. Wesley Stace is a brilliant and intensely original writer and this is his most unusual book yet." - Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler's Wife
"This clever, entertaining novel will appeal to music and opera buffs and literary-historical fiction fans." - Library Journal
"Stace (Misfortune) succinctly explores obsession and the relationship between art and life in this satisfying historical." - Publishers Weekly
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Educated at Cambridge, Wesley Stace (also known as John Wesley Harding) cut short his Ph.D. studies to pursue a music career. He has released 8 solo albums and toured as the opening act for The Mighty Lemon Drops, Michelle Shocked, and Bruce Springsteen. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter.
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