Liz – Those who have read The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and it’s companion book The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessey, both published in 2012, will know the joy of reading Rachel Joyce‘s work.
Her third novel, published last year, was The Music Shop set mostly in 1988 in a downtrodden city area. CD’s are encroaching on vinyl records and Frank, a middle-aged man, owns a music shop that only stocks the latter on a dead-end street that has seen better days. His fellow shopkeepers are a female tattoo artist, a Polish baker, a defrocked priest who sells Catholic items, a funeral parlour and, of course, the pub on the corner.
Frank was raised by an unconventional mother who instilled in him a love and knowledge of music in all its forms. He uses this ability to find for his customers what will cure what ails them, be it a Chopin prelude or Aretha Franklin. Frank changes lives and he is content with his lot until…
Out of Frank and this motley crew comes a story filled with delight, nostalgia and poignancy. Gentle humour saves it from becoming sappy. In addition to the pleasure of reading a good story I learned along the way about how to really listen to music and the lives of the great composers.
Mike – When I received Liz’s email in mid-March I’d not read these three books but have now, finishing the last one yesterday. I enjoyed them all, especially The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy.
The last part of The Music Shop is set in 2009 and ends with the Hallelujah Chorus sung by a flash mob reminding me of this rendition.
Happy reading, and have a good weekend!