Friday, June 09, 2006

Back Link Tenderwire - Claire Kilroy

An exceptional literary thriller recounting an obsessive love story - between a girl and an antique violin. Eva Tyne is an accomplished but volatile young Irish violinist living in New York. Her collapse on the night of her first major solo performance is the trigger for her descent into increasingly self-destructive behaviour. She drinks heavily, ends her long-term relationship and takes up a new one with a virtual stranger, and begins treating her closest friends with paranoia and suspicion. Then one night, in a bar, she encounters a mysterious Chechen who offers to sell her a lost Stradivarius violin. Eva’s efforts to obtain and hold onto the violin lead her into ever darker territory, eventually forcing the revelation of a secret she has been desperately trying to keep, even from herself.

What makes this book so powerful is its insight into the psychology of the young woman at its centre. While Eva is torn between her former boyfriend and her new lover, it is really the violin that is the emotional focus of her life and of this story. Her need to possess the instrument is akin to the consuming obsession of love, a desire so profound that at one point she bites into the varnish, leaving an indelible mark of her possession of it. And yet even beneath this overwhelming need lie still deeper motivations that only gradually emerge as the story unfolds.

Kilroy deftly constructs a gripping narrative whilst never allowing us to lose sympathy with her heroine, whose passions and weaknesses make her all too recognisably human. The lives of struggling young musicians is convincingly portrayed, New York’s dangerous underbelly of mafia and organised crime chillingly explored. In all this is a fantastic and unusual page-turner from a bright new talent. And to date seems to have fallen below the media radar - discover it first at Crockatt & Powell!

Marie from London, England

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