Vikram Seth’s “An Equal Music”

After reading “A Suitable Boy” by Vikram Seth, I had become fan of his writing. When I picked up “An Equal Music”, I was really in for a surprise. As opposed to the traditional Indian setting of “A Suitable Boy”, this book was very western in its plot and extremely technical about music. Even though I do not have much knowledge about technique of music and definitely nothing about European Classical Music, I enjoyed reading this book just for the sake of story itself and the way author has played symphony with human emotions (pun intended).

The story is about a violinist who never forgot about his pianist girlfriend and years later they meet again when the girl is already married and has a child. They have a secret affair and the old flames are rekindled again. But the tragedy is that the girl is slowly going deaf. Their life and music gets affected by each other. The story moves slow and there are details of human emotions that only an author like Vikram Seth can capture.

It was a great lesson in music for me. Although I still do not understand music, the book captured in all details about life of people who practice music for living. When people have performing arts as their profession their life and work are so much intertwined that it is difficult to see  one separate from other. Artists have to learn music and its techniques and practice it for years but in the end it is their emotions that play out during the performance. If the music were to be played without those emotions then it will just be sequence of strings and will fail to move the audience.

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