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MUST READ: The Courage Consort

The Courage Consort by Michel Faber is one such story set in solitude.

india Updated: Jun 12, 2006 14:30 IST

The Courage Consort
Michel Faber
• Price — £10
• Publication — Canongate Books

Allow me to begin with a confession. I am particularly biased towards stories set in solitude. I do not know how this began but I've noticed lately that I tend to lean more towards stories set in quiet hotels or solitary chateaus. The Courage Consort by Michel Faber is one such story set in solitude.

It is also about music; just like Amsterdam by Ian McEwan. But to compare books on the basis of their coarse ingredients is most unwise. There are more than just the strings of words that fill up the otherwise fair paper.

In the case of The Courage Consort this extra comes not in the form of solitude alone, or in the form of characters or anything even closely related to the book. It comes in the form of a distant memory coming alive.

Of a tune once heard and now forgotten in the abyss of memory. It is like accidentally digging up a lost souvenir. Solitude and music go rather well together; especially if we're talking about classical or novy-classical.

As one glides through the lines one can hear the light strains of an upright piano playing by the candlelight. The magic of The Courage Consort lies in its ability to create images in the reader’s head.

One would not easily come across anything special in the book — anything particular that would wrench our heart out. But there is this subtle magic. While the Consort practices at the Belgian Chateau, the singers are held at camp.

Confined within the folds of the house and the surrounding forest, that appears unnaturally silent, the members are left to themselves. The inhuman voice that calls out from the woods tells of a suppressed anguish gathering in each of them. In all, this book is meant to be experienced and not just read.

First Published: Mar 25, 2006 11:57 IST