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Hardback:The Gustav sonata:2016 The Gustav sonata
Author: Tremain, Rose
Publication year: 2016
Language: English
Media class: Hardback
Category: Fiction
Publisher: Chatto & Windus
ISBN: 9781784740030
It is the tutor who tells the young Gustav that he must try to be more like a coconut - that he needs a hard shell to protect the softness inside. This is what his native Switzerland has perfected - a shell to protect its neutrality, to keep its people safe. But his beloved friend, Anton, doesn't want to be safe - a gifted pianist, he longs to make his mark on the world outside. On holiday one summer in Davos, the boys stumble across a remote building. Long ago, it was a TB sanitorium; now it is wrecked and derelict. Here, they play a game of life and death, deciding which of their imaginary patients must burn. It becomes their secret. 'The Gustav Sonata' begins in the 1930s, under the shadow of the Second World War, and follows the boys into maturity, and middle age, where their friendship is tested as never before.
Subject/Genre GNR, General
Additional information: 256 pages, hbk
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Other formats
Talking book - CD:The Gustav sonata, read by Mark Meadows:2016:Unabridged ed
Large print:The Gustav sonata:2017
Paperback:The Gustav sonata:2017
Available: 0
No. of reservations: 2


The report of Milebush book group: We all enjoyed this book which expanded our understanding of the consequences of Switzerland's neutrality in WW2 and provoked a good discussion. It is engaging and sad, arousing emotion and pity for the main character Gustav with themes of friendship, expectation and isolation. Unrequited love appears in many of the different relationships that occur in the story. The three part non-linear narrative structure is effective in helping to explain how these things came to happen. Generally recommended.
Milebush reading group
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