Sunday, July 22, 2018
Jim Crace - The Melody (Picador, 2018) **
The retired singer and widower Alfred Busi is attacked by a further undefined creature in his home. This brings him into contact with his deceased wife's sister and his son, a real estate agent, and the neighbours whose villa will be sold soon. Busi has become a lonely and sad figure, still performing as a singer, but now for smaller crowds of elderly people, and even if was once immediately recognised and famous, he is now reduced to a life on the edge, somewhat outside the bustle of society, outside of where the action is.
Jim Crace's stylistic lyricism is as good as ever, and most sentences are a real pleasure to read, the story itself is somewhat lacking in real tension. The theme is about solitude and of no longer being center-stage, about justice, both personal and political, about greed and compassion. Even if it is sad, it somehow lacks tension, or the captivating and compelling literary and memorable universes he created in "Quarantine" or "Harvest".
If you don't know Crace, I would recommend to start with these two novels.