Hot Best Seller

Music And Freedom

Availability: Ready to download

A gripping and beautifully written novel in the tradition of Elizabeth is Missing and the work of Elizabeth Harrower. I have no use for forgiveness, not yet. But other ideas like that, kindness, for example, I think that is fundamental. Resurrection; I like that too. And love, of course, love, love, love. Alice Murray learns to play the piano aged three on an orange orchard A gripping and beautifully written novel in the tradition of Elizabeth is Missing and the work of Elizabeth Harrower. I have no use for forgiveness, not yet. But other ideas like that, kindness, for example, I think that is fundamental. Resurrection; I like that too. And love, of course, love, love, love. Alice Murray learns to play the piano aged three on an orange orchard in rural Australia. Recognising her daughter's gift, her mother sends Alice to boarding school in the bleak north of England, and there Alice stays for the rest of her childhood. Then she's offered a scholarship to the Royal College of Music in London, and on a summer school in Oxford she meets Edward, an economics professor who sweeps her off her feet. Alice soon finds that Edwards is damaged, and she's trapped. She clings to her playing and to her dream of becoming a concert pianist, until disaster strikes. Increasingly isolated as the years unravel, eventually Alice can't find it in herself to carry on. Then she hears the most beautiful music from the walls of her house … This novel's love story is that of a woman who must embrace life again if she is to survive. Inspiring and compelling, it explores the dark terrain of violence and the transformative powers of music and love.


Compare

A gripping and beautifully written novel in the tradition of Elizabeth is Missing and the work of Elizabeth Harrower. I have no use for forgiveness, not yet. But other ideas like that, kindness, for example, I think that is fundamental. Resurrection; I like that too. And love, of course, love, love, love. Alice Murray learns to play the piano aged three on an orange orchard A gripping and beautifully written novel in the tradition of Elizabeth is Missing and the work of Elizabeth Harrower. I have no use for forgiveness, not yet. But other ideas like that, kindness, for example, I think that is fundamental. Resurrection; I like that too. And love, of course, love, love, love. Alice Murray learns to play the piano aged three on an orange orchard in rural Australia. Recognising her daughter's gift, her mother sends Alice to boarding school in the bleak north of England, and there Alice stays for the rest of her childhood. Then she's offered a scholarship to the Royal College of Music in London, and on a summer school in Oxford she meets Edward, an economics professor who sweeps her off her feet. Alice soon finds that Edwards is damaged, and she's trapped. She clings to her playing and to her dream of becoming a concert pianist, until disaster strikes. Increasingly isolated as the years unravel, eventually Alice can't find it in herself to carry on. Then she hears the most beautiful music from the walls of her house … This novel's love story is that of a woman who must embrace life again if she is to survive. Inspiring and compelling, it explores the dark terrain of violence and the transformative powers of music and love.

30 review for Music And Freedom

  1. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa

    "...that there was too much focus in the world on commerce and industry rather than beauty, compassion and nature." The language of music and literature combined in this book left me literally mesmerised. The restorative power of music and the ability to heal a broken soul is one of the most firm beliefs I have. This book explores domestic violence and the effects of social exclusion. Alice the wife slowly loses herself and becomes trapped within the confines of her destructive marriage. The "...that there was too much focus in the world on commerce and industry rather than beauty, compassion and nature." The language of music and literature combined in this book left me literally mesmerised. The restorative power of music and the ability to heal a broken soul is one of the most firm beliefs I have. This book explores domestic violence and the effects of social exclusion. Alice the wife slowly loses herself and becomes trapped within the confines of her destructive marriage. The heartbreaking story of a woman who loses her passion and will to live over many years of abuse. Then by chance music becomes a part of her life again and hope appears for Alice once more. Through music she finds refuge, a safe place for her to open up her heart again. This is such a well written book that draws you in and the musical references really brought this book alive. I felt the pain the pleasure and passion so palpably. A real joy of a book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Eleanor

    A wonderful book, beautifully written and almost unbearable to read because of the near destruction of the narrator by her abusive husband. The power of music to bring her back to life is conveyed very movingly. Zoe Morrison is a musician, and it shows. A five star read to begin the year.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Michael Livingston

    A brilliant book, telling the heartbreaking story of a young woman crushed by a dreadful husband and her gradual efforts to rebuild her life in her later years. I'm not a musician, but the writing about Alice's piano playing was captivating, and the portrait of a deeply dysfunctional marriage felt brutally accurate. I just found the whole book wonderfully moving - sad without being hopeless and gorgeously written. One of my favourites of the year so far.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bronwyn

    It's been a while since I felt quite so moved by a book. In fact, I feel like this novel completely took me apart and left me bereft, before gently putting all my pieces back together again. Beautiful, heartbreaking, uplifting, all in one. As an accomplished pianist herself, Zoë Morrison GETS IT when it comes to writing about music, and some of her sentences soar like musical phrases. The writing about music itself, and the power it has to both haunt and redeem, is just exquisite. But her It's been a while since I felt quite so moved by a book. In fact, I feel like this novel completely took me apart and left me bereft, before gently putting all my pieces back together again. Beautiful, heartbreaking, uplifting, all in one. As an accomplished pianist herself, Zoë Morrison GETS IT when it comes to writing about music, and some of her sentences soar like musical phrases. The writing about music itself, and the power it has to both haunt and redeem, is just exquisite. But her research into the social isolation caused by emotionally abusive relationships, and the world of conservative Oxford in the 1950s, feels so achingly, painfully real. Music and Freedom has moments of beauty, subtle humour and social commentary, and raw emotion, and I loved it so much it hurts.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Anna Spargo-Ryan

    The beautifulness of this book is absorbing, profound, absolute. I could have listened to Alice forever.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lesley Moseley

    4 1/2 due to the joy I felt 'listening' to the lovely music. Also the fond memories of Oxford UK, and a small town in 'the mallee', OZ that is so true to life. What a triumph for an elderly women , who has the best decade of her life!! Can't ait for her next book, and hope it's a sequel.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Calzean

    The author is a gifted academic who studied in Oxford researching family violence and has formal qualifications as a pianist. Not surprising this book covers Oxford, violent husbands and classical music. It is an unsettling story. I enjoyed the way the story unfolded jumping between the near present in a struggling orange growing property near Mildura and life for Alice's in England from the late 1930s to the near present. Alice is a gifted pianist who with little choices left to her marries The author is a gifted academic who studied in Oxford researching family violence and has formal qualifications as a pianist. Not surprising this book covers Oxford, violent husbands and classical music. It is an unsettling story. I enjoyed the way the story unfolded jumping between the near present in a struggling orange growing property near Mildura and life for Alice's in England from the late 1930s to the near present. Alice is a gifted pianist who with little choices left to her marries Edward an Oxford economics' Don. Edward's true self is revealed on the wedding night and for the rest of her married life she endures his verbal and physical abuse. While Alice finds love and life again in her later life the book is more about the impact of domestic violence and how Alice loses her self-esteem, confidence which results in severe trauma. There is also a lot about music and piano techniques that may be of interest to some but I found to be in need of some pruning. I also didn't understand why poor Alice wasn't invited to the big concert event or how she suddenly was able to jump on a plane to Oz.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Claire Preston

    A harrowing yet exquisite story. I enjoyed the way it was written and that each snapshot, of the present and past, left you wanting to understand what would happen next. Alice has a talent for, and more importantly a love of, music and her dark story is interwoven with a quest for being loved. Ultimately her music sings but in an unexpected and lovely way.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ian Tymms

    I read this in a rush and I think I would see the it differently had I not. Morrison's depiction of the brutality of Edward, husband of the narrator Alice, is unrelenting. There's redemption and beauty and love late in the novel, but it is a long time coming and I felt brutalised towards the end. Morrison's academic work as a social demographer and the acknowledgements she makes to the many people who shared their stories of sexual and domestic violence gives the story a further layer. I feel I read this in a rush and I think I would see the it differently had I not. Morrison's depiction of the brutality of Edward, husband of the narrator Alice, is unrelenting. There's redemption and beauty and love late in the novel, but it is a long time coming and I felt brutalised towards the end. Morrison's academic work as a social demographer and the acknowledgements she makes to the many people who shared their stories of sexual and domestic violence gives the story a further layer. I feel that I have read an important statement of cultural articulation; a novel doing the important work of showing us who we are and who we can be with a kind of truth beyond the declarative range of academic works. A composition that recognises walls and has found a way to work beyond them.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Heather Boundy

    Loved the premise of the book and the early part set in Australia; loved the links with Rachmaninov and music study; got frustrated by the relationship (perhaps wholly intended) and thought it could do with more editing to avoid repetition (but again, maybe this is a reflection of Alice's coping or not with the treatment she receives from her bastard of a husband) The 'transformative power of love' cam a bit late for me.....

  11. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn Mck

    I took a while to get into this novel as I found the style rather wooden. I certainly didn't enjoy it as much as others on Goodreads have done or indeed as I expected to. It's about the life of a woman who left Australia as a child musical prodigy but whose career was stopped in its tracks by her marriage to a misogynistic economist at Oxford. Alice loses all freedom and it is only regained through her friendship with a young woman who moves in next door and opens the way back to music for I took a while to get into this novel as I found the style rather wooden. I certainly didn't enjoy it as much as others on Goodreads have done or indeed as I expected to. It's about the life of a woman who left Australia as a child musical prodigy but whose career was stopped in its tracks by her marriage to a misogynistic economist at Oxford. Alice loses all freedom and it is only regained through her friendship with a young woman who moves in next door and opens the way back to music for Alice. I enjoyed the second half of the novel more than the first, especially as it engaged me in thinking about music in new ways. We have just finished discussing this in our online book group where most members shared some of my reservations. Zoe Morrison has used many of her own academic and musical experiences to provide a solid basis for the novel but it seemed for many of us that her writing couldn't always match her ambitious themes, although there are some beautiful passages. Only Alice emerges as a multi-dimensional character and some of the plot was unconvincing. However, I'm glad I read this novel and admire Morrison for the way she linked her musical and feminist themes.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jaclyn Crupi

    This broke my heart in its depiction of a woman completely broken by her husband. The writing was lovely but the two timelines didn't always work. The power of music was beautifully explored. It will certainly appeal to fans of Stephanie Bishop's The Other Side of the World.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    This book is brilliant. Very powerful

  14. 5 out of 5

    Meg Ross

    I got this book for Christmas and am still thinking about it mid year. Evocative and beautiful

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alana Saunders

    A beautiful piece of writing. The story was emotional and captivating and who doesn't love Rachmaninoff? I really liked that music was always both her downfall and her salvation. Well that's what I saw anyway.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nicolene Murdoch

    Almost gave it 4 stars... just did not quite get there in the end in my view.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Zora

    A beautiful book that surprised me with its depth and heart. So much gravitas for a first novel.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Gail Chilianis

    A 5star read for me..finally a story which I enjoyed and a book I read over the weekend!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jacq

    Powerful, articulate and spectacularly bittersweet.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cass Moriarty

    Zoë Morrison's novel Music and Freedom (Vintage Books Penguin Random House 2016) is as all-encompassing, inspiring and compelling as the music it describes. This literary drama is filled with jarring and conflicting themes: domestic violence pitted against the transforming power of music; loneliness and forgiveness; guilt and friendship; talent and ambition versus narcissism. And it is about love – romantic love, familial love, the love between friends, the love of a musician for the music she Zoë Morrison's novel Music and Freedom (Vintage Books Penguin Random House 2016) is as all-encompassing, inspiring and compelling as the music it describes. This literary drama is filled with jarring and conflicting themes: domestic violence pitted against the transforming power of music; loneliness and forgiveness; guilt and friendship; talent and ambition versus narcissism. And it is about love – romantic love, familial love, the love between friends, the love of a musician for the music she plays and the instruments she treasures. It is about creativity and drive. It is also, as the title suggests, about freedom – the freedom of the individual to realise her potential, to strive towards self-actualisation, to remain strong and independent through adversity. This sweeping narrative begins in an orange orchard in rural Australia. Alice Murray, three years old, plays the piano with a special gift. Her earliest memories are of music and the pressure to achieve. Sent away to boarding school in England, Alice’s life changes completely, although she never forgets her orange farm, the wide-open skies of the country of her birth, and the smells and sounds of home. She accepts a scholarship to the Royal College of Music in London, and meets Edward, an Oxford economics professor who offers her everything when her world is falling apart. As the years progress, Alice’s dream of becoming a concert pianist becomes smaller and less likely, and her life with Edward becomes consuming, dangerous, isolating and increasingly unreal. Tragedy strikes on several fronts, and Alice has resigned herself to ‘the end’, when she hears beautiful music playing through the walls of her house, music which opens her up to herself, and to the many possibilities of the world that still exist outside her seclusion. The love story contained in this tale is unusual in that it is a love story of the self – it is about Alice rediscovering her spirit, and recapturing her talent, and restoring her faith in the world. It is about a damaged and broken woman reclaiming her body, her passions, her home, her family and her dreams. It is about growing up, and growing old, and growing weary, and finding peace. While this story does feature violence against women, specifically against the backdrop of the previous generation, it is not defined by this theme; it is much wider than the fate of one woman in an oppressive relationship, but extends to the search for freedom and independence by all women as they mature and face the conflicting demands of family, personal ambition, societal norms and cultural expectations. The sense of place in this book is almost haunting in its intensity. Whether it be the cobblestones of old-fashioned Oxford or the wildness of the Australian bush, Morrison paints luminous pictures that put us squarely in the scene with the characters. And the author’s knowledge and appreciation of classical music, particularly as composed for the piano, shines through the narrative, along with an intelligence surrounding the study of music and the psychology of human nature. This is a beautiful, meandering, introspective and contemplative story about finding our place in the world, conjuring the confidence to overcome obstacles, and reaching deep inside ourselves to find the strength to live an authentic life.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Caity

    This author produces a compelling story and allows you to dive deep into the characters minds. Without the psychological analysis of the protagonist the story would not of been as marvellous, in fact the story line is rather repetitive and monotonous. What makes the book so phenomenal is the artistic and elegant writing. The book touches upon domestic abuse and you can tell the author has done her research upon the topic. I love that this book might open up a conversation about it and seek This author produces a compelling story and allows you to dive deep into the characters minds. Without the psychological analysis of the protagonist the story would not of been as marvellous, in fact the story line is rather repetitive and monotonous. What makes the book so phenomenal is the artistic and elegant writing. The book touches upon domestic abuse and you can tell the author has done her research upon the topic. I love that this book might open up a conversation about it and seek victims to find help. I thought it was well done because it did not cover up the gruesome parts but portrayed the terrible reality of domestic abuse. It also shows the damage it can cause mentally for years and even psychically. This is a great piece of literature but I felt disappointed by the ending. The conclusion was a quick wrap-up and it left me with so many questions and immense frustration. The creative writing was flawless when it came to describing music. What deep satisfaction I found in these parts of the book. I thought it was a beautifully written novel.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Aleesha

    I think this book came to me at the right time in my life – even a year ago, I don’t think I would have had the same reaction – but I thought this book was magnificent. Subtle and quiet and thoughtful, you feel the narrator’s every emotion. Essentially, the book is about the ways a man utterly destroys a woman’s confidence, passions, independence, and it’s so unbearable to know this narrative is repeated all over the world, even today. I don’t know how the author did it, but the level of emotion I think this book came to me at the right time in my life – even a year ago, I don’t think I would have had the same reaction – but I thought this book was magnificent. Subtle and quiet and thoughtful, you feel the narrator’s every emotion. Essentially, the book is about the ways a man utterly destroys a woman’s confidence, passions, independence, and it’s so unbearable to know this narrative is repeated all over the world, even today. I don’t know how the author did it, but the level of emotion and meaning she was able to convey is astounding. So much of it is just about domestic rituals and a love letter to music, two things that could have been, frankly, boring, but they are essential to the narrator’s collapse and triumph.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Matthews

    2.5. When I commenced the book I was enjoying it, but as it progressed I liked it less and less. There were aspects of the book that were very enjoyable, but it was very uneven and ultimately I found the characters and their respective relationships quite wooden and often just simply unconvincing and unbelievable. The references to music were the highlight of the book for me which is Morrison's area of expertise.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Henrietta Farr

    I'm not sure if I liked or really liked this book. On one hand some of the subject material was difficult to read about but on the other it tugged at your soul and I couldn't put it down. I left the book with a renewed desire to live life and go back to my neglected musical instruments.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Louise

    A life wracked with emotional, physical, mental and financial abuse is the subject of Zoe Morrison’s novel Music and Freedom. It is distressing to read of Alice Murray's life journey as an abandoned, lonely child, a tormented wife and mother and most significantly as a reclusive, vunerable older woman tettering on the edge of madness and know how different this journey would have been but for the abuse which, among other things, denied Alice the freedom to imbue her life with music. Music and A life wracked with emotional, physical, mental and financial  abuse is the subject of Zoe Morrison’s novel Music and Freedom. It is distressing to read of Alice Murray's life journey as an abandoned, lonely child, a tormented wife and mother and most significantly as a reclusive, vunerable older woman tettering on the edge of madness and know how different this journey would have been but for the abuse which, among other things, denied Alice the freedom to imbue her life with music. Music and Freedom is a beautifully written, uncompromising and absorbing novel about domestic violence and the devastation it causes. 3.5 stars.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sue Gould

    Beautifully written - I loved this book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    Loved it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Belinda

    I loved this book. I found it enthralling, disturbing and beautiful. I found the characters totally believable. It reminded me of one of my favourite books of all time, "An Equal Music" by Vikram Seth. An outstanding debut.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kassie

    Lovely book to read with flowing prose. Some parts are hard to read as the narrator's mindset jumps around and she has destructive tendencies. I'd recommend but be prepared to push yourself on as it moves as a slow steady pace.

  30. 4 out of 5

    KateNZ

    I've had to wait a while to calm down before attempting a review of this excellent debut novel by Australian author, Zoe Morrison. It's a first person narrative of Alice, an extraordinarily gifted pianist who is sent to England to study (at the age of seven, and alone) in the thirties. When personal tragedy strikes, and despite earlier warning signs, she ends up marrying an Oxford economist don, only to lose herself to her husband's increasing abuse. Her story mirrors the violence in her I've had to wait a while to calm down before attempting a review of this excellent debut novel by Australian author, Zoe Morrison. It's a first person narrative of Alice, an extraordinarily gifted pianist who is sent to England to study (at the age of seven, and alone) in the thirties. When personal tragedy strikes, and despite earlier warning signs, she ends up marrying an Oxford economist don, only to lose herself to her husband's increasing abuse. Her story mirrors the violence in her parents' marriage (her father is deeply damaged from his combat experience in World War I) and their physical isolation on a remote and unprofitable orange orchard in Australia. But Alice's tragedy, while universal, is also uniquely hers - the slow disintegration of selfhood, confidence and talent. If the story had been purely linear, I'd have found it harder to deal with. As it happens, though, the narrative switches between three different timelines - the story of younger Alice; older Alice alone in her Oxford house hearing music coming through the wall; and Alice returned to Australia and in very different circumstances. The latter is introduced very early on in the book, which provides a necessary thread of hope to cling to. It's almost like a concerto, but with aspects of the three different movements or themes mixed up rather than sequential - it's polyphonic - and it keeps the reader thoroughly engaged. I found myself breathlessly angry for most of the centre section. Zoe Morrison's studies and professional work have largely focused on social justice issues, and the book mirrors what she's observed: a mingling of different people's realities focused around a realistic (and far from perfect or heroic) narrator. While the message is clear, she generally manages to avoid being didactic (there are only a few passages where the tone shifts and ceases to work as well), and the language is spare, even distant at times and matter-of-fact - there are no histrionics to dilute the effect. Music pervades the book, and serves to illustrate just how great the effect on Alice is - but at the same time it's the lifeline that she needs. There are many references to particular pieces and how to play them (Morrison is apparently an excellent pianist and it shows). The centrepiece work is Rachmaninov's second piano concerto, for reasons that it would tread too much in spoiler territory to explain. Highly recommended but don't expect to come away unscathed.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.