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Music & Silence

When I found out late last year that I’d be living in Denmark this summer I determined to learn a thing or two about a country I knew little about. Music & Silence by Rose TremainI’m not sure quite how I came upon this book; perhaps it was a Google search of something like “best Denmark books.” In any event, Music & Silence was available at my local library. Now that I think of it, I probably just typed “Denmark” into the keyword search of my library’s database.

Anyway, this book, being “historical fiction,” probably isn’t the best source to learn about Denmark, but it was entertaining. For me, Music & Silence went through three phases.

The first was confusion as I tried to figure out who the characters were. The descriptions are rich, but there are so many characters, and the author bounces back and forth between them; she also doesn’t go with a linear time line. This made for somewhat difficult reading, but it was exciting at the same time as the reader has to stay alert and try to piece things together.

The second phase was non-stop pleasure as you finally get your mind wrapped around the characters and become deeply involved in the plot. While this portion of the book is certainly the best, I don’t recommend entering this phase if you have other things you are supposed to be doing. You will find it hard to put the book down as you have to see what will happen with the next twists and turns of the story.

The final phase, for me anyway (I think my wife and other readers may disagree), was disappointment. For all the subtleties, complications, and richly woven plot lines of the bulk of the book the endings were all too clean, predictable, and perfect for my taste.

At least that’s my memory. It’s been five or six months since I finished this book so things are foggy at this point. Rose Tremain certainly painted some pictures in my head, though, of Copenhagen, the Denmark countryside, Rosenborg, and Frederiksborg. I’m anxious to see the real things.

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