Music and Silence
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Music and Silence

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  1,897 ratings  ·  156 reviews
Rose Tremain deserves a hallelujah chorus dedicated to her alone. A decade after the appearance of Restoration, with its superb evocation of the British baroque, comes her glorious and enthralling Music and Silence. Like the earlier novel, this one is a treasure house of delights--as haunting as it is pleasurable and teeming with real and imagined characters, intrigues, se...more
Published by Turtleback Books (first published 1999)
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Jan-Maat
Due to my unreasonable irritability the author's reversal of the historical relationship between Christian IV and his mother over money and the bizarre invention of having the Danes ask the Russians for mining experts to help them develop silver mines in Norway but who are eaten by wolves on their way there, (the Russians had no expertise in silver mining in the 17th century) leave me feeling negative overall about this book.

Should you not be prone to the same character faults as myself you coul...more
Jon
Loved it..couldnt put it down. I love the way its written from different perspectives and jumps back in time so you gradually learn more about the characters backrounds and connections. Im not a massive fan of alot of Historical fiction, preferring to read the real thing. For example - Alison Weirs or Antonia Frasers biographies of European Royals are as gripping as any fiction with plots counter-plots intrigue and sumptous detail, why would you need a weak inaccurate story built around the same...more
Lynn
I am a late convert to Rose Tremain's writing - and what beautiful writing it is. Having suffered through some appalling novels of late, it was wonderful to have this novel remind me that there are still some very talented authors out there!

It took me a little while to get used to the episodic nature of this novel - more pronounced than in 'Restoration'- but I found myself engaged by the characters and their stories (even the appalling Kirsten!) and intrigued by the narrative. At times the novel...more
Patricia Bracewell
Set in 17th century Denmark at the court of Christian the 4th, this book reminds me of a fairy tale by Hans Andersen, for it is full of magic and wonder. The writing is lovely, except for the sections in which certain characters revel in some rather sordid sexual antics. The writing, though, fits the characters and events. There are several witches, a king, the good girl, the hero -- even a boy who works wonders. They are all larger than life -- another element that adds to the feeling of fairyt...more
Angela Young
The research Tremain must have done for this book is astounding but it never shows. I heard an interview with her on Woman's Hour recently (about her new novel, Merivel, A Man of his Time) in which she quoted Rudyard Kipling's attitude to research. He said (I'm paraphrasing) that you should build up your research the way you build up a fire but when you're actually writing a book you should merely riddle that fire ... and Tremain is a past mistress of that. I loved this book. It has so many stor...more
Newtqueen
I read a review in this week's New Yorker on a new Tremaine book that praised her older work, so I went to the library and got Music & Silence, which has a Whitbread Award. It concerns a lute player and his misadventures in 17th C Denmark. Sadly for me, it's written in that faux archaic style which some authors think emulates the time they are writing about, and I find it cloying. How does she know people talked like that? To add to my chagrin, the characters seem to be either saints or depr...more
Dottie
One of my favorite Tremain offerings. I've found most any of hers are worth the time but I loved the period setting here.
Stephen Redwood
The skill with which the various strands of this story are interwoven is extraordinary. It paints a fascinating picture of life and politics in Denmark in the 17th century, as well as it's relationships with other European countries. The story itself took me a little while to become absorbed by, and every so often some of the liberties taken with coincidence struck me as being more typical of the short cuts movies take than those you expect in a sophisticated novel. Nevertheless, by the end I wa...more
Fiona
Music and Silence takes you, dream-like, through 17th Century Denmark during the time of King Christian IV. I'm not sure how historically accurate this book is yet, I thought I would look it up after reading it.

Tremain chose a rather unusual method of storytelling. It was written in little episodes from the perspectives of multiple characters that all played some small part, that reflected both music and silence - the real, the unreal, the magical the unmagical. I think it will take a little whi...more
Tocotin
Wow, this was an interesting read, if a bit heavy at times. It's about two years in the middle of the reign of the most popular Danish king, Christian IV, namely of the time when he finally got fed up with the antics of his morganatic wife Kirsten Munk and sent her away. I'm ashamed to admit I didn't know anything about the historical figures mentioned in the book (apart from Dowland), so I had to check some stuff when I finished, which was about 10 minutes ago.
The book is very long, and has lot...more
Giant Bolster
Such a joy to read really well-crafted descriptions of atmosphere, character and sentiments in general. Tremain has an amazing ability to immerse the reader in her writing. I was able to lose myself in her world of captivating characters with their persistent yearnings and unfulfilled hopes and desires. Her prose is very affecting. Every time I put down the book, I felt left with a sense of vague yearning for I know not what. The book is so intense – and so lengthy – that it is quite heavy to re...more
Tori
2003- Peter Claire travels in 1629 from England to Denmark to be part of King Christian IV's orchestra. Swirling around him are tons of stories, and at least 12+ different viewpoints are used in the book, each showing the differences of how people's age, sex and status makes them view events. King Christian and his wife Kirsten's marriage is on the rocks, the country of Denmark is almost broke, and Peter and his love Emilia are kept away from each other. We also see the stories of how King Chris...more
Nikki Bezdel


A difficult book to lose yourself in. The skill of the author in creating exquisite prose is undeniable, but I have to confess to losing interest in the story on more than a couple of occasions. The switching back and forth between numerous points of view leaves one somewhat adrift and the story does tend to meander off the point quite regularly. All in all, if you enjoy a literary work of considerable skill, you will enjoy the magic woven with words here. However, I found the plot leaden and co...more
Rebecca
I tried, I really tried to like this book. I just never got into it. I love reading historical fiction, but just not this book.
Em
Music and Silence is a beautifully written, lyrical novel which explores music, silence and much, much more.

Set in 17th Century Denmark, the stories of multiple characters intertwine and the tale of each is equally captivating. The description and sense of place is superb, the changing scenery was vivid in my mind.

I especially loved the way in which Rose Tremain blended the historical and magical and that there is nothing predictable in the story or it ending.
Lynne
A satisfying historical novel that reads like a mix of literary fiction, fairy tales, and an invented seventeenth-century Danish version of magical realism. This chimerical quality makes it easy to overlook the very loose plot as each section reads almost like a little tale of its own. I will miss Kirsten Munk, Almost Queen of Denmark, and her private papers.
Bre Teshendorf
Jan 26, 2008 Bre Teshendorf rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history lovers. romantic fantatics, music lovers
This is the story of a Danish king, his rogue queen and his musicians and their loves in the middle ages. This book is written in choppy paragraphs jumping back and forth in time with lots of detail and interesting tidbits about life in that time period. The modern writing style made it very refreshing to read.
Maureen  & Family
Oct 03, 2007 Maureen & Family rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
A wonderfully woven tapestry of differnt lives weaved together. Years later, I still think about these characters.
Emmaauty
Really didn´t enjoy it as much as the first RT novel I recently read, its style was very different - which is not necessarily a bad thing of course, but I found it quite jumpy to start with, following a lot of disparate characters and their histories. It did come together as the story progressed and I grew quite attached to King Christian of Denmark and quite loathed his wife Kirsten. I find first person accounts of detestable characters hard to enjoy, but as this story is told from many differe...more
Stacey
May 10, 2007 Stacey rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Most
Beautifully written and evocative. Almost lyrical historical fiction.
Elena
Interview with Rose Tremain for Russian Mass Media by Elaine Karpos-Dedukhina
Хочу успеть сделать еще многое, до того
КАК УСКОРЕНИЕ ВЫЙДЕТ ИЗ-ПОД МОЕГО КОНТРОЛЯ

ИНТЕРВЬЮ: РОУЗ ТРЕМЕЙН, автор романов "Музыка и Тишина", "Дорога к Дому", "Реставрация" и др.

Елена Дедюхина: Много лет Вы преподавали на литературных курсах Университета Восточной Англии. Среди Ваших учеников ныне всемирно известные писатели: Эндрю Миллер, Трейси Шевалье, Мик Джексон, Эрика Вагнер…

Роуз Тремейн: Я горжусь успехами этих п...more
Ron
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Francene Carroll
Music & Silence was an enjoyable read overall, although the English teacher in me can't help but search for deeper meanings.

It follows a whole range of characters in the court of King Chrisitian IV of Denmark, and is very loosely based on historical facts. Although it's an historical novel the characters and the language come across as quite modern, and there is a wicked vein of humour that runs through the novel. That said though the ending is very conventional - the two respectable couple...more
Chana
I liked this book very very much. It is set in the time of King Christian IV of Denmark in the 1630's when a young lutenist from England, Peter Claire, joins the King's orchestra. The setting follows the historical facts regarding the King's early life, his private marriage to Kirsten Munk, her adultry with a German officer, and the subsequent drama. I found the story delightful; it is oddball and magical, gothic, strange and lovely. The characters were fully believable to me, very three-dimensi...more
Kristen McDermott
Tremain is the award-winning author of the beautiful novel of 1660's London, Restoration -- which was also made into a pretty good movie starring Robert Downey Jr. and Meg Ryan. Music and Silence is equally beautiful, but less focused than Restoration -- it's told in the voices of at least four characters. The setting is Denmark, 1629-30, in the court of the brilliant but emotionally unstable King Christian IV. The novel's protagonist, John Clare, is a lutenist hired to play in the King's orches...more
Linda
Peter Clair, a young English lute player, arrives in Copenhagen in 1629 to play in the orchestra in the court of King Christian IV. Because of his good looks, Christian IV declares Peter “his angel” and treats him as a favorite. Before long, Peter meets and falls in love with Emilia, the favorite maid of Kirsten, Christian IV’s second wife. Kirsten is insecure and therefore highly controlling, and after her husband discovers Kirsten’s affair with a German officer, he divorces her and she leaves...more
Judy Croome
“Music and Silence” by Rose Tremain was recommended to me as a superb example of a multi-voiced novel.

This is a long book (+450 pages), superbly written in a lyrical prose style. Set in 17th century Denmark, it’s well-researched and brilliantly conveys what life must have been like in that time. In addition, it cleverly hints at correlations between that corrupt world and today’s world.

From the historical King Christian IV of Denmark to the fictitious English lutenist, Peter Claire, the charact...more
Stacy
Story of royal love-lives with Danish history background.
As this was kind of compulsory reading for the subject in my university, I was forced to look at it from the different angle comparing with how I would interpret this book reading it on myself. To be completely honest, I would not have chosen it and, if by some chance of the destiny it fell right into my hands, I wouldn't read it. This is just an honest confession what, nonetheless, does not give any judgement of the book.

Despite the main...more
Huw Rhys
I choose books to read mainly to be entertained. If they make me think a bit about the human condition, all the better. But in general, when I finish a book, I like to feel that it’s engaged me via the content of its pages.

I say this, as this colours what I am about to write.

Rose Tremain is one of my favourite authors. She writes two types of book – gritty, contemporary, realistic novels, and historically based novels. This was one of the latter – but frankly, it stank.

I should have realized by...more
Mighty_k24
In’t kort: Denemarken, 1629. Peter Claire, een Engelse luitspeler, komt aan op het Deense hof, waar hij al snel de vertrouweling wordt van koning Christiaan IV. Peter wordt verliefd op Emilia, de steun en toeverlaat van de koningin. Koning en koningin kunnen echter niet meer met elkaar doorheen dezelfde deur. Hoe kan Peter de weg vinden die zijn dromen werkelijkheid doet worden en zijn ziel zal redden als zijn loyaliteiten zo fataal verdeeld zijn ?

Mijn oordeel: dit boek werd mij in de handen ged...more
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Rose Tremain's best-selling novels have won many awards, including the Orange Prize (The Road Home), the Whitbread Novel of the Year (Music & Silence), the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Prix Femina Etranger (Sacred Country). Restoration, the first of her novels to feature Robert Merivel, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1989 and made into a film in 1995. She lives in Norfolk a...more
More about Rose Tremain...
The Road Home The Colour Restoration Trespass The Way I Found Her

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“And she did not want him to think her quite mad, only a little unique, only containing within her just that measure of the unexpected sufficient to make her irreplaceable.” 12 likes
“Acceptance, she thinks, is the harshest lesson life teaches and the one most important to learn.” 2 likes
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