©1999 Rose Tremain; (P)2001 Chivers Audio Books
From my experience so far, the answer would have to be a resounding, "NO!" Tremain gets just right the mix of opulence and stringency, melancholy and joy, hope and despair that war with one another in the 17th century court of King Chistian of Denmark. All of her characters may not be likeable (the selfish Kristin, for one, and Tillson's second wife Mordalena, for another); but each one is unique and fascinating in his or her own right. What is Music and Silence about? The disappointment of love--and the perseverance of love. The power of art and the power of words. Family dynamics that can almost destroy its members yet somehow manages to pull them together. The influence of the past and the persistence of memory. And so much more. To give you any more details, if you haven't read this beautiful novel, would spoil the experience. Highly recommended!
"Kirsten is Christina"
The notion of the true story of King Christian IV of Denmark set in the year of 1630 as 'racy' seems a bit of a stretch, but Rose Tremain through the character of Kirsten or Christina Munk pulls it off. Lots of plots and sub plots, great storytelling from a writer who was new to me - really enjoyable. Jenny Agutter's performance is great as well, she has the perfect voice for this one - a pleasure in itself.
I am bereft having finished listening to this wonderful book. Jenny Agutter's narration transported me to ancient Denmark with its cast of robust and sympathetic characters, I loved them all even the awful ones! It made me yearn to learn more- one of the best books ever!
"Held by the reader"
This is the sort of book I admire but don't enjoy and I know had I read it on the printed page I would have given up on it. Although everything links together, the plot is built up on multiple narrators, some of whom I found more interesting than others. Jenny Agutter's wonderful reading of it lulled me through the more stolid bits and carried me firmly through the engrossing parts. It is no doubt a beautifully written and thought -provoking book. However it is bleak and at the time this didn't suit my mood, so for me to say I was glad that I listened to the whole book is praise. This is a very biased review, but I would say if you are really struggling after an hour or so, you are going to have an uphill battle.
"A great listen"
I normally avoid "historical" novels, and only decided to download this having read "The Colour" and "Sacred Country". I was so impressed with Rose Tremain's writing that I gave this a go. And I am glad I did.
A really interesting story .. on the surface about events during two years surrounding the breakdown of the marriages of King Christian, and associated subplots (which are really the main plots). But like Rose Tremain's other novels: lots of insights into the nature of what makes life interesting and worth living. How to create meaning, happiness... ...very existential stuff , and some great quotes . Beautiful writing. Loved both the "goodies" and the "baddies".
Jenny Agutter is masterful in her rendition of this book.. Beautifully read and a joy to listen to. She captures the essence of the characters really well, from the prickly and nasty Kirsten to the daydreaming Marcus.
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