The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain


What is the difference between friendship and love?

Gustav grows up in a small town in Switzerland, where the horrors of the Second World War seem a distant echo. But Gustav’s father has mysteriously died, and his adored mother Emilie is strangely cold and indifferent to him. Gustav’s life is a lonely one until he meets Anton. An intense lifelong friendship develops but Anton fails to understand how deeply and irrevocably his life and Gustav’s are entwined until it is almost too late…



Is it possible to fall in love with a book?

To fall so utterly under its spell that your heart aches when its finished?

The answer to both questions is yes! I fell in love with The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain and now it’s finished I am left feeling bereft. I can never again capture that magical experience of reading it for the first time. I want to sing its praises to the world. To beg everyone to read it.

Having never read any of Rose Tremain’s books before, I didn’t have any expectations. I read it simply because it was Waterstone’s recommended fiction read for February. What if I hadn’t decided to read their recommended book each month? I would have missed this and that makes me sad.

It is a hauntingly beautiful tale of friendship, unrequited love and sacrifice.

It asks the reader to question the difference friendship and love. Can love grow from the seeds of friendship? There was one moment in the book that had me so desperate to know the answer to these questions, but I almost couldn’t read on for fear of being heartbroken! While the ending took my breath away, leaving me unable to pick up another book for nearly two days. I didn’t want to move on, yearning to stay with Gustav and Anton forever.

If you buy one book this month, please consider this book. It reminded me why I love reading. Emotional, powerful and forever one of all time favourite reads.

You can buy this book from the following sites and your local independent bookshops.


Amazon  Waterstones


Rose Tremain, born in London in 1943, was one of only five women writers to be included in Granta’s original list of 20 Best of Young British Novelists in 1983. Her novels and short stories have been published worldwide in 27 countries and have won many prizes, including the Sunday Express book of the Year Award (for Restoration, also shortlisted for the Booker Prize); the Prix Femina Etranger, France (for Sacred Country); the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award (for Music & Silence) and the Orange Prize for Fiction 2008 (for The Road Home). Restoration was filmed in 1995 and a stage version was produced in 2009. Her latest novel is the acclaimed The Gustav Sonata which sees Rose ‘writing at the height of her inimitable powers’ (Observer).

Rose lives in Norfolk, England with the biographer, Richard Holmes. She is the mother of one daughter, Eleanor and has two grandchildren, Archie and Martha. She was made a CBE in 2007 and in 2013 was appointed Chancellor of the University of East Anglia.

(source Author Website )

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