Excerpt from The Music Room by William Fiennes, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Music Room

A Memoir

by William Fiennes

The Music Room by William Fiennes
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Sep 2009, 224 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2010, 224 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


He's up at dawn to turn the alarm off and slide the bolts on the oak outer door (the slide and rich bass clonk of the bolts roll round the acoustic chamber of the porch); ducks waddle behind him across the front lawn and loiter by the stables while he scoops a wooden dish through the grain bin; he scatters grain for ducks like a man in an old Dutch painting. At night he or my mother go round the house checking doors and windows, turning lights off. They call it 'shutting the house up' – a daily task with its own ceremonial rhythm, an established itinerary followed from one room to another.

The remote, formal spaces of the house are eerie in the dark. The grandfather clock ticks implacably down the Long Gallery; floorboards creak like ships' hulls under pressure from the swell; there's a sudden breath of cold wind from stone spiral stairs; the men and women in portraits have occult power in the moonlight through high windows. I'm used to the ten or fifteen minutes each evening when either my mother or father disappears into the other end. They open the door in the music room and step into historical dark. We're all still in the same house, but for that short interval they're away, the plain door a portal or time machine by which you passed into a different world. The minutes stretch out in our lamp-lit domestic realm while my father goes off into that elsewhere. At last the door by the piano clicks open and he joins us again in the kitchen, the cold in his clothes a trace of that other region like moondust on an astronaut. Sometimes I went with them. I followed them through the Great Hall, down the Long Gallery, into the Kings' Chamber, Council Chamber, Queen Anne's Room, Great Parlour and Chapel. Wooden shutters unfold from the walls; the Great Parlour's huge blue blinds pull down like square-rigged sails on the west windows; you have to reach behind an iron breastplate to switch off the light in the Groined Passage. I hardly ever went there alone after dark. The eyes in portraits followed me down the gallery; white busts of Ben Jonson and Inigo Jones began to shoulder off their plinths; oak chests were dark blocks the size of tombs and the pendants in the Great Hall's plaster ceiling were ready to detach and plummet just as you walked beneath them.

Excerpted from The Music Room by William Fiennes. Copyright 2009 by William Fiennes. With permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Castle of Water
    Castle of Water
    by Dane Huckelbridge
    When a whopping 24 out of 27 readers give a book 4 or 5 stars, you know you have a winner on your ...
  • Book Jacket: Havana
    Havana
    by Mark Kurlansky
    History with flavor...culture with spice...language with gusto...it would be hard to find a better ...
  • Book Jacket: Temporary People
    Temporary People
    by Deepak Unnikrishnan
    In this powerful and innovative collection of 28 short stories, Deepak Unnikrishnan presents a ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Nest
by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

A funny and acutely perceptive debut about four siblings and the fate of their shared inheritance.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    No One Is Coming to Save Us
    by Stephanie Powell Watts

    One of Entertainment Weekly, Nylon and Elle's most anticipated books of 2017.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Stars Are Fire
    by Anita Shreve

    An exquisitely suspenseful novel about an extraordinary young woman tested by a catastrophic event.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Y S M B, I'll S Y

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -