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The Courage Consort

3.33 of 5 stars 3.33  ·  rating details  ·  691 ratings  ·  71 reviews
With his elegant prose and perceptive imagination, the bestselling author of The Crimson Petal and the White creates a unique, self-contained world, where the perennial human drama plays out in all its passion and ambiguity. In these acclaimed novellas, Michel Faber takes on the interior world of inventively crafted characters. "The Courage Consort" tells of an a capella v ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published November 7th 2005 by Mariner Books (first published 2002)
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This collection of three novellas by Faber runs quickly. The first and title story, "The Courage Consort" is a wonderful story with a double meaning title. It is about a group of singers who go to the Netherlands to pratice before a performance. Part of the charm comes from Faber's brillant character painting.

The second story, "The Hundred Ninety-Nine Steps" takes place in Whitby, yes that Whitby and those steps. There are no vampires here, at least not in the traditional sense of the word. Fabe
Leah Shafer
Faber's first novel The Crimson Petal and the White was so magnificent that I leaped at the chance to read something else by this literary badass.

IT WAS SO GOOD--three goodnesses, actually. The first, self-titled novella is a story about an English choral group retreating to the Belgian chateau for rehearsals on a modern piece. The second, The Hundred and Ninety-Nine Steps, is about a paper conservator on work holiday who discovers a grisly 1788 murder. Third, the Fahreinheit Twins, is the most
Caleb Liu
I bought a copy of the single novella "The Courage Consort" having read and loved The Crimson Petal and White and heard rave reviews of Under The Skin. It was a short but interesting mock psychological Gothic tale of a vocal quintet rehearsing in a out of the way Belgian Chateau for the world premiere of some ghastly modernist piece. The Soprano hears strange noises in the woods - a symptom of her own fragile mental state surely? The disintegration of her mind and self into depression mirrors th ...more
Miriam Michalak
A suberb collection of three novella's written in Michel Faber's indomitable style - wonderful!
A very strong four stars for this collection of three novellas. Faber's The Crimson Petal and the White ranks with Ian McEwan's Atonement as the two best novels I've read that were written this century, but I did not care for Under the Skin at all. These stories are completely unlike either work in theme and setting, but Faber's master characterization abilities in The Crimson Petal are on display here.

The Courage Consort concerns a singing group sequestered at a cottage in Benelux to practice a
Deanna McFadden
A collection of three novellas, I would absolutely say that the "THE HUNDRED AND NINETY-NINE STEPS" and "THE FAHRENHEIT TWINS," vividly and wholly captured my attention. THE COURAGE CONSORT, the tale of an a cappella singing group tucked away in a Belgian chateau practicing an almost "unsingable" piece of music. It's fairly typical in its plot and outcome, but I thoroughly enjoyed The Big Chill-nature of it. That said, I was captivated by Sian, the protagonist from THE HUNDRED AND NINETY-NINE ST ...more
This is a short, tight, novella, with nary a spare word used.

It is the story of a 5 piece acapella group, who have agreed to try out a new piece written by a very rich (and somewhat "otherworldy" mentally) German and get two weeks in a Belgian Château to practise. The novella starts with Catherine - married to the group's founder Roger Courage - coming out the other side of psychological problems, which include depression and a hinted-at suicide attempt the year before.

They meet up at the Châtea
Faber’s novella about an a cappella group may appeal to individuals who sing chorally. The Courage Consort derived their name not just from the Wesleyan adage about hymn singing – “sing lustily and with good courage” – but also from their reputation of performing music lesser musicians would lack courage to deliver. Faber wrote with versatility and an insider’s knowledge of the tensions, disagreements, conflicts that coexist with rapturous moments of seamless harmony when a group sings together. ...more
Sam Quixote
A group of five a cappella singers go to a large house in the Belgian countryside to rehearse a piece of avant garde music called partitum mutante. They are different personalities and the main character, Catherine Courage, is suicidal. When they settle in for a fortnight of practice Catherine hears a strange wailing in the nearby forest at night and as the temperature rises in the weather, so does the temperature in the house...

The novella has potential given that setup however it was never go
full review:

I've come to realize that Michel Faber is really ****ing weird, and I love it. My third Faber adventure, after The Crimson Petal and the White and The Fire Gospel is his collection of three novellas entitled The Courage Consort. I liked it much better than The Fire Gospel and can see how his wit and his sense of the strange and surreal influenced the writing of Crimson Petal. These three novellas are witty, ironic, sometimes downright ridiculous, and unexpected
This collection of three novellas actually rates a 3.5 from me; the writing is definitely above-average. I suspect that my problem is partially with the form itself: the narratives are not short enough to be short stories with a "zing" - that focus that E.A. Poe talks about - nor are they long enough to make plot complexity a necessity. So bear in mind that I may simply be a grumpy reader in not giving an out-and-out 4.

Of the three, I enjoyed the title novella, "The Courage Consort," the most. I
Marc Nash
An accapella quintet, performers of difficult modern compositions. They have a date in a European modern music festival in Belgium. They are housed in a chateau in the middle of a forest in order to rehearse. They are called 'Courage' not for their ambition in tackling difficult works, but because it is the surname of Roger the group's leader and driving force. The book is narrated by his
wife Catherine, whose mind has been unravelling for some years now, but she still possesses the voice of an
This was an interesting collection of three short stories, or more properly, I suppose, three novellas. I liked them more than I expected to, since this is not one of my favorite forms of fiction. I did enjoy his full-length novel, Under the Skin, much more, but I still liked reading these stories. They showed the same blend of interesting characters and unsettling atmospheres. I did want more from each story, so I am not sure if that is a good or bad thing, really. I just wanted them to keep go ...more
This book consists of three short novellas. I enjoyed the first one ("The Courage Consort") the most, found the second one ("The Hundred and Ninety-Nine Steps") so-so, and didn't care much for the third one ("The Fahreinheit Twins"). However, all three stories are written really well so the author deserves much credit for that, especially since he does it in such few pages. He infuses elements of surrealism and the gothic genre to create very interesting mood and atmosphere for the stories to ta ...more
This collection by the author of The Crimson Petal and the White had me engrossed from the first story which also happens to be the title of the collection. The Courage Consort is the tale of an a cappella group that is forced to endure much more time together than is usual in order to perfect a revolutionary new piece to be performed at an art's festival. This is a character study that I found compelling, it was my ability to identify with the narrator and her slow wakening to the humanity and ...more
What I like most about this book is that the characters' inner world has been depicted profoundly.. Everybody knows what the truth wandering in their heart is. But in genereal, nobody is able to tell it honestly to anyone. Authors are heroes at this point. Some of them are so successful in defining concrete and abstract concepts equally that we sometimes want to be defined by an author's pen in our all aspects or, to speak briefly, we want to be one of the characters in a story.
Real nature, - re
Jun 05, 2011 Gail added it
Catherine sat at the kitchen bench, staring abstractedly into Ben's porridge bowl. It was so clean and shiny it might have been licked, though she imagined she would have noticed if that were the case. She herself tended to half-eat food and then forget about it. Roger didn't like that for some reason, so, back home in London, she'd taken to hiding her food as soon as she lost her appetite for it, in whatever nook or receptacle was closest to hand. I'll finish this later, she'd tell herself, but ...more
Greg Howard
All three novellas are pretty good. I loved the details in the characters, but it was somewhat disappointing to not get to spend a full-novel-length amount of time with them. Death was such a prevalent theme, too, but in a way that made you contemplate it, not fear it.
Terry Mark
A very short book but I loved it, was totally drawn in by it. Woke up early one morning and couldn't get back to sleep and decided to start this. Read 70 pages before I got up and finished the rest when I went to bed that night.You could really imagine being in that remote chateau surrounded by forest.Very atmospheric and great characters.
Stephen Roe
I'm giving it three stars, but that's not to say it's without some almost perfect qualities. The prose and descriptiveness within is outstanding, and the pace of the novella utterly perfect, right up to (and through) the denouement (one which I really didn't predict, either). It left me wanting a little more character depth and detail, wondering if in fact the tale could have been stretched and lengthened, contributing further to the intensity and discomfort of the five singers, holed up remotel ...more
Like many others, lured to read this collection by my enjoyment of his previous work. but I did not find this work as engaging. The Courage Consort is the best of the novellas, but could easily have been developed further, and probably should have. The story was too neatly wrapped up, without proper exploration or resolution of conflict. The second story was a snore and the characters irritating (maybe authors shouldn't be commissioned to write stories as publicity?). The last had potential, but ...more
I loved these brief novellas mostly because I was immediately drawn into each of the settings and wanted to know the characters. Michel Faber's stories are haunting. What I thought would be the focus of each novella turned out to not be; rites of passage, internal conflicts, sympathetic characters were what stayed with me.
I picked up this collection because of the considerable strengths of "The Crimson Petal and the White," but found it to be nothing like. The former is a fast-moving, exotic read, a real treat: these novelettes are slowpaced and inelegant. I read the first story in full, gave the second one a look-over, and just gave up.

Yes, the writing is occasionally rich, but it often is ordinary or works too hard:

"Perspiration and the odd pimple glittered on his pumpkin face"

"'Mmmm,' said Roger, as he might h
Ok but not up to his regular snuff. But I'll always expect much more of this author after under the skin and the crimson petal. Just a 3.
Kae Cheatham
This title consists of three novellas--really two novellas and a short story.
Good language and unique characters and circumstances. Faber portrays inner emotions quite well.

"The Courage Consort" - is the name of an innovative singing group. The five members and the people they meet were quite distinctive.

"The Hundred and Ninety-nine Steps" presents only two major characters (and a neat dog). A hint of mystery is in each story.

"The Fahrenheit Twins" was the shortest of the three. Again, interest
First tale, the title "The Courage Consort," ultimately seems a rather pointless exercise in following a desperate woman coming to terms with herself; she's hard to care about. As always, though, Faber's prose is compelling and enlightening. The second piece, "The Hundred and Ninety-Nine Steps," is nearly as long but has a more intriguing narrative thread to grasp onto, also about a woman, not as desperate, coming to terms with herself; her problems are more tangible. The third, "The Fahrenheit ...more
group dynamics. music, self seeking, small book, great story line, fight for independence, just lovely to read
May 05, 2012 Tom rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who don't have a lot of time
What to say, what to say. The Courage Consort is a somewhat disfunctional choir group that retreats to a castle in Belgium to practice a complicated avant-garde musical piece. Focus is on the relationships between the characters, and Faber manages to present these in an adequately interesting way.

I do however feel that there are a lot of loose ends. Some interesting characteristics are brought forward, but are never really developed throughout the story. This leaves the reader with a novella th
Small but perfectly formed. The plot and characters seem simple but in Faber's world everything from the title to the setting has a double meaning. I won't give away spoilers but when I finished the book I was slightly disappointed until the next day when I was out for a walk and really thought about the word courage which is the link to interpreting this novella. You could have seen the light bulb above my head 'aha'! Like everything he writes, time well spent.
I picked this one up when I was intending to read Under the Skin but couldn't find a copy -- in Belgium at the time -- so this one jumped into my hands and I carried it home from ABC Leuven and gobbled it down. I liked it better than UTS -- but that's neither here nor there. It is a bit unusual and yet somehow fit right into the experiences of life in Belgie which surrounded me at that point. I especially enjoyed the underlying stories connected with the group of the title.
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Michel Faber (born 13 April 1960) is a Dutch writer of fiction. He writes in English.

Faber was born in The Hague, The Netherlands. He and his parents emigrated to Australia in 1967. He attended primary and secondary school in the Melbourne suburbs of Boronia and Bayswater, then attended the University Of Melbourne, studying Dutch, Philosophy, Rhetoric, English Language (a course involving translat
More about Michel Faber...
The Crimson Petal and the White Under the Skin The Book of Strange New Things The Apple: New Crimson Petal Stories The Fahrenheit Twins

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