The Gustav Sonata

The Gustav Sonata

3.89 (6,041 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

'It was a game of love and death. Neither of us will ever speak about it. It's locked inside us.'

Gustav Perle grows up in a small town in Switzerland, where the horrors of the Second World War seem distant. He adores his mother but she treats him with bitter severity, disapproving especially of his intense friendship with Anton, the Jewish boy at school. A gifted pianist, Anton is tortured by stage fright; only in secret games with Gustav does his imagination thrive. But Gustav is taught that he must develop a hard shell, `like a coconut', to protect the softness inside - just like the hard shell perfected by his country, to protect its neutrality.

But despite this hard shell, nothing in Gustav's life can be called neutral. Older, and increasingly curious about his absent father, Gustav discovers the traces of an erotic love affair - traces which still glow white-hot even now.

Fierce, astringent, profoundly tender - and spanning the twentieth century - Rose Tremain's beautifully orchestrated novel explores the big themes of betrayal and the struggle for happiness, and above all, the passionate love of a childhood friendship as it is tested over a lifetime.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 135 x 216 x 18mm | 276g
  • CHATTO & WINDUS
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1784740047
  • 9781784740047
  • 34,551

Review Text

"This is a perfect novel about life's imperfection... Tremain is writing at the height of her inimitable powers... Remarkable and moving novel." Kate Kellaway Observer
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Review quote

"This is a perfect novel about life's imperfection... Tremain is writing at the height of her inimitable powers... Remarkable and moving novel." -- Kate Kellaway * Observer * "The Gustav Sonata is a magnificent novel, heartbreaking, unsentimental and beautifully written, and it reinforces my opinion that there are few writers out there with the dexterity or emotional intelligence to rival that of the great Rose Tremain." -- John Boyne * The Irish Times * "Beautifully tender and brilliantly written novel... A tale of the most powerful part of any friendship: love. *****" * Stylist * "In The Gustav Sonata, Tremain once again proves herself to be a writer of exceptional talent ... Previous novels like The Road Home have already showcased her staggering sensitivity and capacity for empathy but they're here again, magnificently undiminished. Tremain is a writer who understands every emotion ... and it's ultimately this understanding that has produced another exquisite book" -- Matt Cain * i * "Tremain has the painterly genius of an Old Master, and she uses it to stunning effect... Glorious." -- Melissa Katsoulis * The Times *
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About Rose Tremain

Rose Tremain's bestselling novels have been published in thirty countries and have won many awards, including the Orange Prize (The Road Home), the Whitbread Novel of the Year (Music & Silence) and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize (Sacred Country); Restoration was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Rose Tremain was made a CBE in 2007 and was appointed Chancellor of the University of East Anglia in 2013. She lives in Norfolk and London with the biographer, Richard Holmes.

www.rosetremain.co.uk
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Rating details

6,041 ratings
3.89 out of 5 stars
5 27% (1,606)
4 44% (2,677)
3 23% (1,379)
2 5% (279)
1 2% (100)
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