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Dead People's Music
Dead People's Music

Dead People's Music


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Release date NZ
April 9th, 2009
Country of Publication
New Zealand
Vintage New Zealand
Dimensions (mm)
Buy this and earn 136 Banana Points
Product ID


Classical is karaoke - playing covers of dead people's music - or so Wellingtonian Hannah concludes when she sabotages her London conservatorium scholarship. But she wants to keep playing, like her grandmother, Klara, from whom she inherited a cello. The instrument was broken at a party when Hannah was a teenager, and she's still trying to atone for its damage, and to come to terms with her coinciding diagnosis of diabetes. Unmoored from the classical discipline, Hannah turns to composing her own songs. She's in New York City now, where Klara grew up, and her great aunt still lives, guarding the cello's twin. Can Hannah procure it and appease her father? And how does Klara's past inform Hannah's music? As Hannah investigates her Jewish-refugee heritage, she also has to contend with domestic issues: is she with the right man, or should she swap stability for lust, in the form of her visiting first boyfriend? And how much longer can she live with a neurotic, junk-scavenging flatmate, on the verge of murdering another zebra fish?

Author Biography

Sarah Laing was born in Urbana-Champaign in 1973, and grew up in Palmerston North. She studied at Victoria University, and worked as a graphic designer in Wellington and New York City. She won the Sunday Star-Times Short Story Competition in 2006 and her first short story collection, Coming Up Roses, was published in 2007. She currently lives in Wellington with Jonathan and their two sons, Otto and Gus.

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