All Is Song by Samantha Harvey

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She takes a long while to shape and shade the two brothers, and too much space is taken up with the batting back and forth of philosophical opinions.
-Guardian

Synopsis

It is late summer in London. Leonard Deppling returns to the capital from Scotland, where he has spent the past year nursing his dying father. Missing from the funeral was his older brother William, who lives in the north of the city with his wife and three young sons. Leonard is alone, and rootless - separated from his partner, and on an extended sabbatical from work. He moves in with William, hoping to renew their friendship, and to unite their now diminished family. William is a former lecturer and activist - serious, defiantly unworldly and forever questioning - a man who believes that happiness and freedom come only from knowing oneself, and who spends his life examining the extent of his ignorance: running informal meetings with ex-students. Leonard realises he must drop his expectations about the norms of brotherhood and return to the 'island of understanding' the two have inhabited for so long. Yet for all his attempts at closeness, Leonard comes to share his late father's anxieties about the eccentricities of William's behaviour. But it seems William has already set his own fate in motion, when news comes of a young student who has followed one of his arguments to a shocking conclusion. Rather than submit, William embraces the danger in the only way he knows how - a decision which threatens to consume not only himself, but his entire family. Set against the backdrop of tabloid frenzies and an escalating national crisis, "All Is Song" is a novel about filial and moral duty, and about the choice of questioning above conforming. It is a work of remarkable perception, intensity and resonance from one of Britain's most promising young writers.
 

About Samantha Harvey

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Samantha Harvey was born in England in 1975. She has lived in Ireland, New Zealand and Japan writing, travelling and teaching, and in recent years has co-founded an environmental charity alongside her writing. She lives in Bath and teaches on the MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. The Wilderness, her first novel, was published by Jonathan Cape in 2009.
 
Published January 1, 2012 by Jonathan Cape. 320 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for All Is Song
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Natasha Tripney on Jan 07 2012

She takes a long while to shape and shade the two brothers, and too much space is taken up with the batting back and forth of philosophical opinions.

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Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by Carol Birch on Jan 06 2012

If Christ returned, how would he fare in today's world?...more likely than not, he'd end up in an institution. Harvey is the first to apply this approach to one of the giants of classical philosophy, and she succeeds brilliantly.

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