Music,In A Foreign Language (Original Fiction in Paperback)
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"Two people meet on a train: the young man is imagining a novel, and imagining the life of the young woman. A waiter rushes out to find a girl he fancied who hasn't paid her bill, only to find a diary in which their fictitious flirtation is anatomised. But the story actually begins with a man taking a leak after making love to his wife. He has the inklings of a novel, but thoughts will keep intruding, with all their seductive possibilities. The man on the train is living in an England that has decided, with characteristic diffidence and lack of fuss, that it no longer wants to live under a totalitarian regime which has lasted for 40 years. I say totalitarian, but think more of Brazil, a world of terribly genial tyranny, where officialdom tries so hard to be accommodating. And Duncan has another story, one prompted by the memory of his father's car crashing down a slope. As with all good postmodernist novels, the endless digressions are more soothing than jarring." Murrough O'Brien in The Independent on Sunday The strikingly inventive structure of this novel allows the author to explore the similarities between fictions and history. At any point, there are infinite possibilities for the way the story, a life, or the history of the world might progress. The whole work is enjoyably unpredictable, and poses profound questions about the issues of motivation, choice and morality." The Sunday Times "A writer more interested in inheriting the mantle of Perec and Kundera than Amis and Drabble. Like much of the most interesting British fiction around at the moment, Music, in a Foreign Language is being published in paperback by a small independent publishing house, giving hope that a tentative but long overdue counter-attack is being mounted on the indelible conservatism of the modern English novel.With this novel he has begun his own small stand against cultural mediocrity, and to set himself up, like his hero, as ' a refugee from drabness. From tinned peas, and rain.'" Jonathan Coe in The Guardian
which took the edge from his sexual anticipation. It was like a miniature parody of domesticity, and it suddenly made him feel as if he were entering the play-house of a little schoolgirl, and then he felt terrified by the thought that he might want to use her body. It was a moment of disarousal. The flat was really quite typical; a small sitting room with a bedroom (or rather, sleeping area) separated by a curtain. And a tiny kitchen, the sort that might have been designed for a canal barge.
your papers, and this is the only one that’s been done using Waters’ typewriter. So I’d say you’re in the clear. For the moment. ‘Look, Dr. King, ordinarily I couldn’t give a monkey’s about stuff like this; old pamphlets – poetry, for Christ’s sake. My job is catching criminals. But Waters is being vetted for a responsible job. And it’s not just the fact that he might have written this shit that I’m worried about. Did you know he’s a pouf?’ ‘Is he?’ ‘You mean he’s never told you? Never made a
stood with guns at the ready. The moment had been lost – the dam which King had written about had withstood the reservoir of discontent. Old sins were forgotten; new ones could take their place. Some weeks passed – King saw nothing of Anne, and during the occasional musical sessions, Robert gave no indication that he might have found out what had taken place. Then one day when he arrived he seemed agitated. Anne was pregnant, and they were to be married. King’s first thought was that it must be
morning, he took the train to London for his last visit to that small flat in Bayswater. It was less than ten weeks since he had first seen her in the Mall, mending her bicycle. Still not difficult to recapture the thrill of that promising wedge of cleavage beneath her low-hanging blouse. There was a moment of forced good humour when he entered; they embraced. She was a stranger to him now. He could think only of that strand of her hair – he was studying her head; yes, the strand he found was
buried in their own books. A moment of silent self-congratulation – as if the author’s achievement were somehow your own. And now, impatient as ever, you turn to the final story in the book. 28 The pen, rubbing its tip across the paper. A trail of blue ink – a single line – urgent and painful, and twisted, curled, sometimes angled, sometimes pulled back on itself. Back on itself – and broken only for the making of a dot, or a brief horizontal stroke. Or for the opening of an empty space.