The Music Room

D’ora in poi ci spingiamo oltre i confini! Lo facciamo con Freddie Lamech, nuova contributor che rende rAbDo migrante e per tutti.


William Fiennes’ book ‘The Music Room’ is aptly titled: it reads like a song.

Forty-seven year old Fiennes, third cousin of the actor Ralph Fiennes, is a British writer who had an unconventional upbringing – he grew up in a castle.

williamThe narrative revolves around the author’s home, a medieval castle in Oxfordshire, which becomes a central character, like a living thing. People and events all arise from it and are connected to it from beginning to end.

‘The house didn’t just belong to us: it was part of the country’s heritage, the world’s, and our task was to care for it for as long as we were here, and do our best to leave it in good health for future generations. ‘

Fiennes’ formal education at Eton and Oxford comes through in a rich and creatively complex language that manages to steer clear of arrogance. Everyday detail is described with such clarity and skill as to transform it into something as important as life itself. the-music-room-coverFrom time to time the text pops up bubbles of pure genius: ‘Mrs Upton was most forthright in everything, talking as if language had been welling up in her overnight and this was the first opportunity for overspill.’, later she is ‘shuffling in from the world’. Of the brother who died before he was born, Fiennes writes: ‘I knew it was a loss, but I couldn’t feel it as one. He was a presence to me, not something taken away.’ As a young boy watching his mother tune the viola in the music room, what he liked best was ‘the way she’d loosen the peg a fraction before bringing it up to the correct pitch, as if it was only by being first slightly mistaken in something that you could see the right answer clearly.’

The characters are all painted with the colour of love. Amongst them, one figure dominates and encapsulates all that is wonderful and terrifying about being human: Richard, the older brother.

For all who have ever asked themselves ‘What is love?’, here’s a book that offers the definitive answer. Never allowing the thin veil of nostalgia to detract from the truth and honesty of the author’s emotional life, Fiennes’ work is consistently kind and gentle. Therein lies its power; it is deep and precious to the very end.

I highly recommend this book to everyone. It is suitable for all ages and all cultural backgrounds, but must be read at least twice.

7465838660_5998eb5444Let the young William Fiennes, his ‘GUIDE’ badge still attached, take you on the mossy path, over the Sor Brook, through the gates, the castle and into a modern masterpiece.

Unfortunately, I don’t think an Italian translation of ‘The Music Room’ exists.


William Fiennes, The Music Room, W. W. Norton & Company , 2009



Freddie Lamech


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