The Melody by Jim Crace
A Novel

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We might be rich or poor, young or old, fast or slow — but we each have a voice. To what end do we use it? The possibilities are haunting, and so is Crace's message, around which he has invented an entire world: We are only as meaningful as the help we give to others.
-NPR

Synopsis

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.
 

About Jim Crace

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JIM CRACE is the author of ten previous novels. Being Dead was shortlisted for the 1999 Whitbread Fiction Prize and won the U.S. National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction in 2000. In 1997, Quarantine was named the Whitbread Novel of the Year and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Jim Crace has also received the Whitbread First Novel Prize, the E. M. Forster Award, and the Guardian Fiction Prize. He lives in Birmingham, England.












Author Residence: Birmingham, England












Author Hometown: Hertfordshire, England
 
Published June 19, 2018 by Nan A. Talese. 240 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction, Romance. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Melody
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Excellent
on Apr 03 2018

With devastating understatement, Crace offers a parable for a time in which empathy has given way to callousness and fear.

Read Full Review of The Melody: A Novel | See more reviews from Kirkus

NPR

Good
Reviewed by Bethanne Patrick on Jun 19 2018

We might be rich or poor, young or old, fast or slow — but we each have a voice. To what end do we use it? The possibilities are haunting, and so is Crace's message, around which he has invented an entire world: We are only as meaningful as the help we give to others.

Read Full Review of The Melody: A Novel | See more reviews from NPR

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65%

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