REVIEWER: TONI KAN
AUTHOR: VIKRAM SETH
BOOK TITLE: AN EQUAL MUSIC
PUBLISHER: PHOENIX PAPERBACK
YEAR: 2004 EDITION
An Equal Music is the kind of book you just do not read once. This is a book that has to be read and re-read in order to fully appreciate the beauty of this powerful and moving book that is filled with poetry and lyricism.
Vikram Seth is a certified dweeb and genius. The author of ten books covering different genres from poetry to fiction and from non-fiction to travel writing, Seth is a trained economist, a composer, mathematical whiz kid and polyglot and a definite candidate for the Nobel prize.
An Equal Music is his third novel and coming after the magnificent A Suitable Boy, took the literary world by surprise. Unlike his first two novels, The Golden gate: A novel in verse and the Indian epic, A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth presents us in the pages of An Equal Music white, European characters without an Asian or Indian character in sight.
What we have in An Equal Music is a magnificent love story, a bitter sweet tale of loss and rediscovery and loss again. It is on the surface, the love story of Michael and Julia who fall in love as students then part ways only to re-connect many years later when their professional careers have taken off.
In the story of Michael and Julia, Seth sets every emotional nerve tingling as he takes us by the hand and leads us through the amazing landscape of passion and pain. Loss and love are so intertwined that it is impossible to tell them apart and when Michael finally reconnects with Julia, the loss he experiences when their brief second affair ends is juxtaposed against the imminent loss that Julia is facing, a loss that sounds a death knell for her career and in many ways, her life.
On a deeper level, the story of Michael and Julia is a mere pretence for Vikram Seth to write a love song to music. This book is a paean to music. It is both adulatory and incantatory, moving the reader to great and pleasurable heights of ecstasy.
The story of Michael and Julia will resonate for any one who has known passionate love and intense heart ache. It will strike an emotional chord because every love affair has a sound or a smell that defines it. This book will define the moment for every reader that turns its pages. It will read like a soundtrack to your life in this season of love.
REVIEWER: TONI KAN