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Take Nothing With You

by Patrick Gale

If you love a book full of characters you want to spend hours with - this is for you. A warm, gently funny and uplifting read - which isn't without it's dark and worrying moments - or without edge. No saccharine here. But the sense is always there that good will prevail and love and friendship will conquer all. For me the redeeming power of music, so central to Eustace's life and indeed the story, was the crowning joy.

Extract

He lost track of time. After a while the pain in his thumb wasn't so bad, unless he attempted vibrato. The sound became a little less like an owl, he discovered, if he adjusted the distance of his bow from the bridge and didn't press as hard into the string with it as he usually would. Since his father's ban, he had often read his mother's old copy of Ballet Shoes, so no longer enviously dreaming of ballet classes but simply reading ballet as a tidy metaphor for any life of art and discipline. He watched old films like Intermezzo and Red Shoes in the same spirit with a thrilled recognition. He decided this pain in his thumb was like the necessary agony of young ballerinas learning to dance on points, aspiring to grace even as their shoe tips filled with blood.

Parallels

The Travelling Hornplayer by Barbara Trapido
Call Me By Your Name - the film
 

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