The Music Room combines the author's experiences growing up in a castle,
and his memories of his brother who suffered ongoing brain damage
due to epileptic seizures. Interspersed are vignettes relating to the history and science of "the sacred disease" (as epilepsy
was dubbed by the ancient Greeks). Fiennes' prose is both evocative and somewhat
elegiac as he shares his love of both his home and his brother.
Fiennes deftly relates the simple activities of his somewhat rarified childhood such as learning to ride a bicycle in the Great Hall, the elation of catching his first pike in the moat, and his onetime fear of a cobwebbed room full of ancient armor. These passages are great fun and fire the reader's imagination.
He also relates the many ways his parents struggled to support the property, with strangers frequently traipsing through the house on revenue raising ...
About the Author
William Fiennes (born 1970) was educated at Eton College and Oxford University; while he was at Oxford he was diagnosed with Crohn's disease. His first book, Snow Geese, was written whilst recuperating. After re-reading Paul Gallico's The Snow Goose (1941) he was inspired to follow the migrating snow geese on their annual 3,000 mile journey to the Arctic Circle; the resulting book is part travelogue and part meditation on the contradictory human impulses to leave and return, again and again. The book won the Somerset Maugham Award, the Hawthornden Prize, and was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize. He lives in England, and runs a charity called First Story, which arranges and pays for acclaimed authors to be writers-in-residence in low income schools across the UK.
Incidentally, if the name Fiennes seems familiar to you, it's likely...
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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