Tchaikovsky is one of the most popular composers of all time. His melodies are known to many people who may never have heard his name. They crop up on mobile telephones, alarm clocks and answering machines as often as on records and concert programs. Like his music, the man himself was widely loved, but his inner life was fraught with sufferings, confusions and a deep vein of self-doubt. The drama of his emotional life is vividly reflected in his music, letters and diaries, all of which play a major part in this intimate portrait-in-sound.
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Joseph Tallantire has hope and ambition - like his father before him, he is determined to make something of himself and improve his lot. But life is not easy for an uneducated young man in Cumberland before and during World War II, and Joseph's struggle against the odds is the subject of this moving and evocative novel.
Douglas Tallentire has at last achieved what his father and grandfather before him fought for so bitterly. Educated and independent, he can carve out his own career and spread his wings. But success, freedom and happiness are more elusive than ever in the fiercely competitive '70s. From Cumbria to the frenetic whirl of sophisticated life in New York and London, Douglas, like all the Tallentires, must come to terms with private uncertainty and pain.
Set in Cumbria and covering the period from 1898 to the early '20s, this is the powerful saga of John Tallentire, first farm labourer then coal miner, and his wife, Emily. John's struggle to break free from the humiliating status of a 'hired man' is the theme of a novel which has been hailed as a classic of its kind - as meticulously detailed as a social document, as evocative as the writings of Hardy and Lawrence.