An Equal Music by Vikram Seth (Phoenix)



WORDS such as octave, partita and arpeggio may leave you scratching your head in bewilderment if you are not trained in classical music but that shouldn't stop you enjoying this romantic tale.

The author's protagonist is professional violinist Michael who is re-united after 10 years with Julia, a pianist he fell in love with whilst studying in Vienna. Trouble is,she is now married with a child.

Most of the action takes place in London, with occasional forays to Michael's birthplace, the rather drab Lancashire town of Rochdale, before the couple find themselves back in Vienna and also Venice.

Although Michael comes across at times as a bit wimpish in his obsession for Julia, there is no doubt that this is a tender but testing love affair which is made even more traumatic by an event in Julia's life.

The author's love of classical musical and the intricate way in which he takes the reader into the world of chamber music, rehearsal and temperamental artists, makes this a bewitching read.

The narrative builds up nicely into the sort of climax that lovers of romantic drama will relish and it is the sort of novel that lingers with you long after you have turned the final page.