16 January, 2021

A Symphony In Two Parts

Seth is better at describing his character's joyous passion for music than his brooding love

A Symphony In Two Parts
THE narrator of this novel, Michael Holme, second violinist in a string quartet, is not a passive first person, not a camera eye that conveniently holds the story together; as one-fourth of the string quartet that anchors the novel and one-half of the love story that supplies its emotional suspense, he is its hero. Much depends on him: he has to be sympathetic and plausible because the novel takes his feelings seriously; there is no authorial knowingness possible here, no escape into irony. Unless the reader finds Michael's passion for music and for his lover, Julia, credible, he won't get to the end of the book.

The novel is written in the present tense which makes its words press in on the reader, there is no distance from what is being felt or said or done on the page. Sometimes the thoughts of the first-person narrator are given to us without attribution; this is a novel of feeling and sensibility where the feelings and sensibilities of the narrating 'I' are the medium in which the story...



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