It takes the obnoxious antics of composer Harry Fox-Talbot's young grandson Robin to set Fox on the road to recovery. Recently widowed, he has been languishing, bereft without his wife Edie. But Robin, it turns out, is a musical prodigy and as his talent emerges, so too does Fox's interest in life. He starts composing again and is finally able to confront the long-standing family schism that began decades earlier when Edie was first introduced to the Fox-Talbot clan.
Threaded with wry humour and with a passion for music at its core, this gently written story of love, betrayal and yearning will captivate you to its very last note.
Overall our group enjoyed this read immensely. We were unanimous in our appreciation of the clever way the author moved from one era to another in telling the story and found the storyline a delightful and interesting choice. [Auckland 332]
We really enjoyed this book. The descriptions of places and scenes were vivid, well written and drew us into the story. [Timaru 007]
The whole group enjoyed this book and we had a very good discussion about it. We'd recommend it to other groups. [Havelock North 005]
All members were delighted with this book. We were amazed at the quality of writing and depth of knowledge over so many areas by this young writer. Many members have recommended the book to family and friends. I personally rationed my last pages because I was so sad to finish it. [Mana 001]
We really enjoyed this one, it's beautifully written. [Morrinsville 002]
This was the first book for a long time where we all really liked it and read it thoroughly! I don't think it's a book for men though. [Russley 004]
We enjoyed the quality and range of the characters and their relationships that Solomons created. A most enjoyable read. Recommended. [Christchurch 148]
Our group loved the book. We found the characters to be convincing and credibly flawed. The descriptions of the landscapes, the images of the grand houses in their decay and the challenges of farming for those who now had to do it all themselves were well written. The idea of songs being a method of recording history was fascinating. Everyone really enjoyed the writer's style and use of language. A very good read.
We all thoroughly enjoyed this book. The concept of a 'song collector' was intriguing.
Mixed reaction to this book, most people liked it but a few gave up along the way. Someone said that it was two books tacked together badly, the first part is the family story and the second is the grandchild's story. Opinions pretty divided.
An easy read and enjoyed very much by most of the group. All agreed that it was beautifully descriptive with very clever observations of life in rural England at that point. The characters, even minor ones, were well drawn, with a gentle storyline that was believable. Some of us wanted more loose ends tied up, but accepted that they were actually superfluous to the main strands of the story. Lots of discussion as to whether NZ has similar songs that should be collected and what made them special to us.
We, like other groups, really enjoyed this clever book. There seemed to be something in this story for everyone, from music, family values, humour, sadness, regret and yet great love as well. Great descriptions of Dorset and farming life both past and present. All characters were beautifully "fleshed out" and became acquaintances rather than characters in a book. It is pleasing to discover that "Song Collecting" is alive and well! A great read.
A good 'holiday' read. Clever character developments and 'in family' relationships. The fifty (or so) year gap between successive chapters was handled cleverly - each informing the other regarding the result of, or reason for, the actions of another generation. All members found it quite a compelling read.
Our group loved this book. The themes of music, country life, literature, folk song collecting, Jewish hardship etc really resonated, and made for good discussion. Thanks.
The group unanimously enjoyed this book as our holiday read. We had a wide ranging discussion, touching on many of the characters - Jack, Harry, George, Edie, Sal and Marcus (and Robin). We also discussed England and its heritage of stately homes and their maintenance. We loved the descriptive writing about the Dorset countryside and enjoyed the musical storyline - we would have enjoyed a CD (like The Conductor CD) with the music on it.
Loved by everyone for the beautiful evocative writing, the interesting characters and the story itself! We found the notes VERY GOOD and the questions thought-provoking. We enjoyed discussing the song map questions; and also the Suzuki method of learning music that is happening to our grandchildren and children.
We all loved this book. Best one we've had all year!
Beautifully written with such lovely descriptions of post war Britain and the countryside - especially Dorset. We all thoroughly enjoyed it.
Although the book appeared to be an easy read, there were multiple threads and intricacies - most of us loved it!
It was agreed by all members of our book club that this was a thoroughly enjoyable story - beautifully written with touches of humour and sadness.
Everyone loved this book, describing it as a good read. Many issues were explored in this book, layered on a background of passion for music and nature.