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The Melody

A Novel
By: Jim Crace
Narrated by: Nicholas Guy Smith
Length: 8 hrs and 13 mins
Categories: Fiction, Literary
3 out of 5 stars (7 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the Booker Prize-shortlisted author of Harvest, Quarantine, and Being Dead, a tender new novel about music, celebrity, local intrigue, and lost love - all set by the Mediterranean Sea.

Aside from his trusty piano, Alfred Busi lives alone in his villa overlooking the waves. Famed in his town for his music and songs, he is mourning the recent death of his wife and quietly living out his days, occasionally performing the classics in small venues - never in the stadiums he could fill when in his prime. On the night before receiving his town's highest honor, Busi is wrested from bed by noises in his courtyard and then stunned by an attacking intruder - his hands and neck are scratched, his face is bitten. Busi can't say what it was that he encountered, exactly, but he feels his assailant was neither man nor animal.  

The attack sets off a chain of events that will cast a shadow on Busi's career, imperil his home, and alter the fabric of his town. Busi's own account of what happened is embellished to fan the flames of old rumor - of an ancient race of people living in the surrounding forest - and to spark new controversy: something must finally be done about the town's poor, the feral vagabonds at its edges, whose numbers have been growing. All the while Busi, weathering a media storm, must come to terms with his wife's death and decide whether to sing one last time.  

In trademark crystalline prose, Jim Crace portrays a man taking stock of his life and looking into an uncertain future, all while bearing witness to a community in the throes of great change - with echoes of today's most pressing social questions.

©2018 Jim Crace (P)2018 Random House Audio

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Very disappointing

Unlike almost all of his other works, I found this novel tedious and it's characters utterly lacking in appeal, The writing is often labored, self-centered and often paranoid. Whatever personal struggles the main character is trying to deal with, the character descriptions, dialogue and plot only serve to obscure them. The book left me feeling taken advantage of by an ordinarily fine writer. The narrative also suffered from the reader's supercilious tone. The whole piece is a terrible bore.