Saturday 28 December 2019

The Music Shop

Finished December 14
The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce

I've had this on my shelf for far too long, but it came up as my book club book this month, so it finally got read. The story is set in London, starting in 1988. Frank owns a small music shop selling only vinyl. CDs are starting to be very popular, but he's convinced that vinyl is best.
Frank had an odd upbringing, raised by a single parent who treated him less like a child than a roommate. His mother knew a lot about music though, and was passionate about it, and made him listen to music often, telling him about the musicians who created it, the style, the history and everything else she knew about it. He listens with a very focused and educated ear. Frank also has a very empathetic manner, able to choose the right piece of music for people at certain times in their lives. He has two listening booths he built in his shop and they are often the place that his clients first listen to the songs he picks for them.
Frank is also tied to the small community of shop-owners and residents on his cul-de-sac. There is a tattoo artist, a baker, a funeral parlor, and a pub, among others.
As the book begins, a developer is trying to convince the various property owners to sellup, but Frank is one of the ones that holds firm to his property.
Frank also employs a young man Kit as a general assistant. Kit is like an eager puppy, cheerful and exuberant, but also very clumsy. Into this environment one day comes a young German woman Ilse, and she finds her own place in the story, one that is pivotal, yet also not fully realized.
The passages about music in this book make me want to find the music mentioned and listen to it. Even those pieces that I was already familiar with became new to me as I learned more about them.
Highly recommended (and my book club liked it too)

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