Gustav Perle grows up in a small town in Switzerland, where the horrors of
the Second World War seem only a distant echo. An only child, he lives alone
with Emilie, the mother he adores but who treats him with bitter severity. He
begins an intense friendship with a Jewish boy his age, talented and mercurial
Anton Zweibel, a budding concert pianist. The novel follows Gustav's family,
tracing the roots of his mother's anti-Semitism and its impact on her son and
his beloved friend. Moving backward to the war years and the painful
repercussions of an act of conscience, and forward through the lives and careers
of the two men, one who becomes a hotel owner, the other a concert pianist, The
Gustav Sonata explores the passionate love of childhood friendship as it is
lost, transformed, and regained over a lifetime. It is a powerful and deeply
moving addition to the beloved oeuvre of one of our greatest contemporary
Rose Tremain's prize-winning books, including The Road Home, Trespass, Merivel, and The American Lover, have been published in thirty countries. Chancellor of the University of East Anglia, Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and member of the Royal Society of Literature, she lives in Norfolk, England with the biographer Richard Holmes.
Shortlist, 2016 Costa Novel Award
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