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Music And Freedom

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  843 Ratings  ·  113 Reviews
A gripping and beautifully written novel in the tradition of Elizabeth is Missing and the work of Elizabeth Harrower.

I have no use for forgiveness, not yet. But other ideas like that,
kindness, for example, I think that is fundamental. Resurrection;
I like that too. And love, of course, love, love, love.

Alice Murray learns to play the piano aged three on an orange orchard i
Paperback, 352 pages
Published June 27th 2016 by Random House AU (first published 2016)
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Jun 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"...that there was too much focus in the world on commerce and industry rather than beauty, compassion and nature."

The language of music and literature combined in this book left me literally mesmerised.

The restorative power of music and the ability to heal a broken soul is one of the most firm beliefs I have.

This book explores domestic violence and the effects of social exclusion. Alice the wife slowly loses herself and becomes trapped within the confines of her destructive marriage. The hea
Jan 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful book, beautifully written and almost unbearable to read because of the near destruction of the narrator by her abusive husband. The power of music to bring her back to life is conveyed very movingly. Zoe Morrison is a musician, and it shows.

A five star read to begin the year.
Michael Livingston
Sep 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant book, telling the heartbreaking story of a young woman crushed by a dreadful husband and her gradual efforts to rebuild her life in her later years. I'm not a musician, but the writing about Alice's piano playing was captivating, and the portrait of a deeply dysfunctional marriage felt brutally accurate. I just found the whole book wonderfully moving - sad without being hopeless and gorgeously written. One of my favourites of the year so far.
Anna Spargo-Ryan
Jul 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
The beautifulness of this book is absorbing, profound, absolute. I could have listened to Alice forever.
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It's been a while since I felt quite so moved by a book. In fact, I feel like this novel completely took me apart and left me bereft, before gently putting all my pieces back together again. Beautiful, heartbreaking, uplifting, all in one. As an accomplished pianist herself, Zoë Morrison GETS IT when it comes to writing about music, and some of her sentences soar like musical phrases. The writing about music itself, and the power it has to both haunt and redeem, is just exquisite. But her resear ...more
Lesley Moseley
Jan 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
4 1/2 due to the joy I felt 'listening' to the lovely music. Also the fond memories of Oxford UK, and a small town in 'the mallee', OZ that is so true to life. What a triumph for an elderly women , who has the best decade of her life!!

Can't ait for her next book, and hope it's a sequel.
The author is a gifted academic who studied in Oxford researching family violence and has formal qualifications as a pianist. Not surprising this book covers Oxford, violent husbands and classical music. It is an unsettling story.
I enjoyed the way the story unfolded jumping between the near present in a struggling orange growing property near Mildura and life for Alice's in England from the late 1930s to the near present.
Alice is a gifted pianist who with little choices left to her marries Edwar
Ian Tymms
Feb 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this in a rush and I think I would see the it differently had I not. Morrison's depiction of the brutality of Edward, husband of the narrator Alice, is unrelenting. There's redemption and beauty and love late in the novel, but it is a long time coming and I felt brutalised towards the end.

Morrison's academic work as a social demographer and the acknowledgements she makes to the many people who shared their stories of sexual and domestic violence gives the story a further layer. I feel th
Heather Boundy
Loved the premise of the book and the early part set in Australia; loved the links with Rachmaninov and music study; got frustrated by the relationship (perhaps wholly intended) and thought it could do with more editing to avoid repetition (but again, maybe this is a reflection of Alice's coping or not with the treatment she receives from her bastard of a husband) The 'transformative power of love' cam a bit late for me.....
Carolyn Mck
I took a while to get into this novel as I found the style rather wooden. I certainly didn't enjoy it as much as others on Goodreads have done or indeed as I expected to. It's about the life of a woman who left Australia as a child musical prodigy but whose career was stopped in its tracks by her marriage to a misogynistic economist at Oxford. Alice loses all freedom and it is only regained through her friendship with a young woman who moves in next door and opens the way back to music for Alice ...more
Jaclyn Crupi
Oct 01, 2016 rated it liked it
This broke my heart in its depiction of a woman completely broken by her husband. The writing was lovely but the two timelines didn't always work. The power of music was beautifully explored. It will certainly appeal to fans of Stephanie Bishop's The Other Side of the World.
Meg Ross
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I got this book for Christmas and am still thinking about it mid year. Evocative and beautiful
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is brilliant. Very powerful
Alana Saunders
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful piece of writing. The story was emotional and captivating and who doesn't love Rachmaninoff? I really liked that music was always both her downfall and her salvation. Well that's what I saw anyway.
Georgie O'Dwyer
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was great!
Gail Chilianis
Oct 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A 5star read for me..finally a story which I enjoyed and a book I read over the weekend!
Jul 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Powerful, articulate and spectacularly bittersweet.
Dec 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
A beautiful book that surprised me with its depth and heart. So much gravitas for a first novel.
Cass Moriarty
Jul 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Zoë Morrison's novel Music and Freedom (Vintage Books Penguin Random House 2016) is as all-encompassing, inspiring and compelling as the music it describes. This literary drama is filled with jarring and conflicting themes: domestic violence pitted against the transforming power of music; loneliness and forgiveness; guilt and friendship; talent and ambition versus narcissism. And it is about love – romantic love, familial love, the love between friends, the love of a musician for the music she p ...more
Jun 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
This author produces a compelling story and allows you to dive deep into the characters minds. Without the psychological analysis of the protagonist the story would not of been as marvellous, in fact the story line is rather repetitive and monotonous. What makes the book so phenomenal is the artistic and elegant writing. The book touches upon domestic abuse and you can tell the author has done her research upon the topic. I love that this book might open up a conversation about it and seek victi ...more
Lisa Matthews
Jul 19, 2017 rated it liked it
2.5. When I commenced the book I was enjoying it, but as it progressed I liked it less and less. There were aspects of the book that were very enjoyable, but it was very uneven and ultimately I found the characters and their respective relationships quite wooden and often just simply unconvincing and unbelievable. The references to music were the highlight of the book for me which is Morrison's area of expertise.
Henrietta Farr
Dec 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm not sure if I liked or really liked this book. On one hand some of the subject material was difficult to read about but on the other it tugged at your soul and I couldn't put it down. I left the book with a renewed desire to live life and go back to my neglected musical instruments.
Sue Gould
Apr 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written - I loved this book.
May 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I found it enthralling, disturbing and beautiful. I found the characters totally believable. It reminded me of one of my favourite books of all time, "An Equal Music" by Vikram Seth. An outstanding debut.
Mar 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2017
Lovely book to read with flowing prose.
Some parts are hard to read as the narrator's mindset jumps around and she has destructive tendencies.
I'd recommend but be prepared to push yourself on as it moves as a slow steady pace.
Oct 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: music, australian
I've had to wait a while to calm down before attempting a review of this excellent debut novel by Australian author, Zoe Morrison. It's a first person narrative of Alice, an extraordinarily gifted pianist who is sent to England to study (at the age of seven, and alone) in the thirties. When personal tragedy strikes, and despite earlier warning signs, she ends up marrying an Oxford economist don, only to lose herself to her husband's increasing abuse. Her story mirrors the violence in her parents ...more
Mike Steinharter
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
this was beautifully done; the author moves seemlessly back and forth from the past in England to the present time in Australia, recounting her life as an abused wife at the hands of an arrogant husband, and the lost opportunity of a virtuoso pianist. It is painful to undergo, but the musical side of this heart-wrenching novel is beautiful. Also a very fast read, given it is constructed as a series of very short chapters.
Hannah Wattangeri
Jan 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Not an easy book to read as it is about a woman who lives with an abusive husband who destroys her love of music and playing the piano. realistically describes how this can destroy a woman's soul, but also about women's resilience and strength. Well written and the reference to music adds a beautiful dimension to the book.
Kate Walton
Oct 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Wonderful. Such a delicate and accurate portrayal of domestic violence and how it can trap women in relationships. I haven't read a book in ages where I was so strongly willing the protagonist to succeed.
Samantha Kukuljan
Oct 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
A story that lasts a lifetime...

The fictional memoir of Alice Murray is only a little too close to home. We start in the 1930s when Alice is an innocent child confused by her parents marriage but she is whisked away to an English boarding school before she was old enough to piece their marriage together.

Growing up all Alice wants is to go back to Australia and become a concert pianist. That is until she meets Edward Heywood. Edward comes across as charming and intelligent but Alice does not get
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Zoë Morrison was a research fellow and college lecturer in human geography at Oxford University where she completed her DPhil as a Rhodes Scholar. Her work in research and advocacy has addressed social exclusion and violence against women. Zoë has an LMusA in piano performance. She lives in Melbourne.
More about Zoë Morrison

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