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All is Song

2.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  60 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
It is late summer in London. Leonard Deppling returns to the capital from Scotland, where he has spent the past year nursing his dying father. Missing from the funeral was his older brother William, who lives in the north of the city with his wife and three young sons. Leonard is alone, and rootless - separated from his partner, and on an extended sabbatical from work. He ...more
ebook, 1.0, 288 pages
Published 2012 by Jonathan Cape, London
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Susanne Gruß
Jul 03, 2012 Susanne Gruß rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brit-lit
there are some passages that are beautifully written, but this does not save the novel as a whole... an incredibly boring reading experience
Jan 10, 2012 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british
I didn’t read Samantha Harvey's first novel,‘The Wilderness’ so I can’t compare the two, but I found this one quietly powerful in its questions about responsibility, culpability, duty, faith and the nature of sin. To begin I thought the pacing was glacially slow (though I was revelling in the beauty of the language) but the character of William gradually sucked me in in the way I imagine he sucked in his students and followers. Perhaps it was too philosophical, too academic in places, given that ...more
Sophie Dusting

"William getting obsessive about his ideas and being unable to let anything go. If someone shows so much as a passing interest in a subject he'll pursue it until they wished they'd never mentioned it," [Pg. 167].

Leaving Scotland, after the end of a marriage and death of his parents, Leonard Deppling returns to London to reunite with his brother, William. William, a former lecturer and activist, now spends his days discussing his life philosophy with his ex-students and questioning p
May 04, 2012 Jayne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-bookshelf, novel
This is a thinkers book about the relationship between two brothers: William - deep, loving, spiritual and non-conformist, and Leo - conformist, a little lost and craving a different relationship with his brother. The introduction captured my attention, with a slow, peaceful, birds-eye view into the first meeting between the brothers in years. But the story seemed to loose its momentum through out the middle. I wondered about the plot and where it was going. It was one of those books that seem t ...more
Mar 23, 2014 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Lest my five star review lead anyone astray, I should probably say that I doubt this book will be to everyone's taste. It is very different to most of the other books I have given a top rating to, since it is one of those serious Booker-contender types in which there are few big events but plenty of big ideas and fine words. Surprisingly, it did not make the Booker 2012 longlist; perhaps it was not submitted?

"All is Song" is about two brothers, now in their fifties, their relationship with each
Jan 20, 2013 Sabriel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, pretentious
It was ok. The characters all seemed to hang a bit in midair. Instead of some real debate of the whys and hows William seems just stuck in his inability to relate to other humans' needs. He basically talks things to death, and with that his relationship to his family and his brother.

I did neither find it particularily deep nor emotionally touching in any way, give the description of the two brothers, neither seemed like a developed enough human for a relationship and so the both broken relations
Apr 10, 2013 Triduana rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-books, abandoned
Review of the book up to page 96 (where I finished reading).
I found this book a little puzzling. The two main characters are brothers who have been brought together following the death of their father. The interaction between the two characters was not brother-like at all, it was more like following the lives of two old colleagues. There was no emotion in anything they did or said. There were lots of pages of dialogue that had nothing to do with anything, and lots of philosophical discussion, a
This is not a very good novel, but Harvey is so smart that you might not mind. If your interests are more philosophical and moral than literary, this might be a book for you. Also, if you don't mind plodding books that really have no narrative drive, this also might be for you. I suspect it won't be to most people's tastes, but I enjoyed it and think I am better off for having read it.
Frank O'connor
Apr 01, 2012 Frank O'connor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Philosophers
This is a book about philosophy. It is structured as a struggle between two brothers. It is told from one of the brother's point of view. Leonard, the brother in question, attempts to understand his brother William, a modern day Socrates. William is very believable as a Socratic construct. The understanding underpinning the story feels genuine from a philosophical perspective. The book is something of a gentle gadfly, worth reading for anyone interested in truth.
Sallyann Van leeuwen
Hopefully this book just didn't translate well into an audio book, as I found it hard to get into the story...just not much substance and I didn't care about any of the characters.
Mar 13, 2013 Ele rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book felt as a chore. It felt so conceived, as if the author were trying so very hard to produce a Serious Work of Literary Fiction. Irritating.
Danielle marked it as to-read
May 05, 2016
Flannella Lindsay
Flannella Lindsay marked it as to-read
Apr 21, 2016
Michael Scott
Michael Scott marked it as to-read
Apr 06, 2016
Tim rated it it was amazing
Mar 18, 2016
Hazel marked it as to-read
Feb 28, 2016
James Wilson
James Wilson rated it liked it
Feb 14, 2016
Diana rated it it was ok
Feb 13, 2016
Andrea marked it as to-read
Jan 30, 2016
BAS marked it as to-read
Dec 26, 2015
Just This
Just This rated it liked it
Dec 04, 2015
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Oct 31, 2015
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Oct 01, 2015
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Sep 22, 2015
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Samantha Harvey has completed postgraduate courses in philosophy and in Creative Writing. In addition to writing, she has traveled extensively and taught in Japan and has lived in Ireland and New Zealand. She recently co-founded an environmental charity and lives in Bath, England.

Her first novel, The Wilderness, was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2009, longlisted for the 2009 Man Boo
More about Samantha Harvey...

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