The Gus­tav Sonata

Rose Tremain
  • From the Publisher
November 29, 2016

Gus­tav Per­le grows up in a small town in Switzer­land, where the hor­rors of the Sec­ond World War seem only a dis­tant echo. An only child, he lives alone with Emi­lie, the moth­er he adores but who treats him with bit­ter sever­i­ty. He begins an intense friend­ship with a Jew­ish boy his age, tal­ent­ed and mer­cu­r­ial Anton Zweibel, a bud­ding con­cert pianist. The nov­el fol­lows Gustav’s fam­i­ly, trac­ing the roots of his mother’s anti­semitism and its impact on her son and his beloved friend. Mov­ing back­ward to the war years and the painful reper­cus­sions of an act of con­science, and for­ward through the lives and careers of the two men, one who becomes a hotel own­er, the oth­er a con­cert pianist, The Gus­tav Sonata explores the pas­sion­ate love of child­hood friend­ship as it is lost, trans­formed, and regained over a life­time. It is a pow­er­ful and deeply mov­ing addi­tion to the beloved oeu­vre of one of our great­est con­tem­po­rary novelists.

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