THE GUSTAV SONATA
By Rose Tremain
W.W. Norton & Co., September 27, 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 anti-Semitism 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.
“The Gustav Sonata is beautifully rendered, and magnificent in its scope. It glows with mastery.” (Ian McEwan)
“The Gustav Sonata is a work of extreme and painful beauty, the story of one profound love amid many failed relationships, and of the conflict between passion and self-control. Rose Tremain is one of the very finest British novelists, and deserves, with this brilliant novel, to reach a wide new audience.” (Salman Rushdie)
“The Gustav Sonata―beautiful, musical, tender―is the latest novel from a writer who commands her readers' attention and affections like no one else. It is an immensely moving book, and written with such crystalline clarity and precision that it will take your breath away.” (Neel Mukherjee)
About the Author
Rose Tremain's prize-winning books, including The Road Home, Trespass, Merivel, and The American Lover, have been published in thirty countries. Chancellor of the University of East Anglia, Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and member of the Royal Society of Literature, she lives in Norfolk, England with the biographer Richard Holmes.