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The Music Shop
Cover of The Music Shop
The Music Shop
A Novel
Borrow Borrow
“An unforgettable story of music, loss and hope. Fans of High Fidelity, meet your next quirky love story.”—People
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE TIMES (UK) AND THE WASHINGTON POST

It is 1988. On a dead-end street in a run-down suburb there is a music shop that stands small and brightly lit, jam-packed with records of every kind. Like a beacon, the shop attracts the lonely, the sleepless, and the adrift; Frank, the shop’s owner, has a way of connecting his customers with just the piece of music they need. Then, one day, into his shop comes a beautiful young woman, Ilse Brauchmann, who asks Frank to teach her about music. Terrified of real closeness, Frank feels compelled to turn and run, yet he is drawn to this strangely still, mysterious woman with eyes as black as vinyl. But Ilse is not what she seems, and Frank has old wounds that threaten to reopen, as well as a past it seems he will never leave behind. Can a man who is so in tune with other people’s needs be so incapable of connecting with the one person who might save him? The journey that these two quirky, wonderful characters make in order to overcome their emotional baggage speaks to the healing power of music—and love—in this poignant, ultimately joyful work of fiction.
Praise for The Music Shop
 
“Captures the sheer, transformative joy of romance.”The Washington Post
 
“Love, friendship, and especially the healing powers of music all rise together into a triumphant crescendo. . . . This lovely novel is as satisfying and enlightening as the music that suffuses its every page.”The Boston Globe
 
“Magnificent . . . If you love words, if you love music, if you love love, this [novel] will be without question one of the year’s best.”BookPage (Top Pick in Fiction)
 
“Joyce has a knack for quickly sketching characters in a way that makes them stick. [The Music Shop] will surprise you.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Rachel Joyce has established a reputation for novels that celebrate the dignity and courage of ordinary people and the resilience of the human spirit. . . . But what really elevates The Music Shop is Joyce’s detailed knowledge of—and passion for—music.”The Guardian
“An unforgettable story of music, loss and hope. Fans of High Fidelity, meet your next quirky love story.”—People
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE TIMES (UK) AND THE WASHINGTON POST

It is 1988. On a dead-end street in a run-down suburb there is a music shop that stands small and brightly lit, jam-packed with records of every kind. Like a beacon, the shop attracts the lonely, the sleepless, and the adrift; Frank, the shop’s owner, has a way of connecting his customers with just the piece of music they need. Then, one day, into his shop comes a beautiful young woman, Ilse Brauchmann, who asks Frank to teach her about music. Terrified of real closeness, Frank feels compelled to turn and run, yet he is drawn to this strangely still, mysterious woman with eyes as black as vinyl. But Ilse is not what she seems, and Frank has old wounds that threaten to reopen, as well as a past it seems he will never leave behind. Can a man who is so in tune with other people’s needs be so incapable of connecting with the one person who might save him? The journey that these two quirky, wonderful characters make in order to overcome their emotional baggage speaks to the healing power of music—and love—in this poignant, ultimately joyful work of fiction.
Praise for The Music Shop
 
“Captures the sheer, transformative joy of romance.”The Washington Post
 
“Love, friendship, and especially the healing powers of music all rise together into a triumphant crescendo. . . . This lovely novel is as satisfying and enlightening as the music that suffuses its every page.”The Boston Globe
 
“Magnificent . . . If you love words, if you love music, if you love love, this [novel] will be without question one of the year’s best.”BookPage (Top Pick in Fiction)
 
“Joyce has a knack for quickly sketching characters in a way that makes them stick. [The Music Shop] will surprise you.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Rachel Joyce has established a reputation for novels that celebrate the dignity and courage of ordinary people and the resilience of the human spirit. . . . But what really elevates The Music Shop is Joyce’s detailed knowledge of—and passion for—music.”The Guardian
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Excerpts-
  • From the book 1

    The Man Who Only Liked Chopin

    Frank sat smoking behind his turntable, same as always, watching the window. Mid-afternoon, and it was almost dark out there. The day had hardly been a day at all. A drop in temperature had brought the beginnings of a frost, and Unity Street glittered beneath the streetlights. The air had a Kind of Blue feel.

    The other four shops on the parade were already closed, but he had put on the lava lamps and the electric fire. The music shop was warm and colorfully lit. At the counter, Maud the tattooist stood flicking through fanzines while Father Anthony made an origami flower. Saturday Kit had collected all the Emmylou Harrises and was trying to arrange them in alphabetical order without Frank noticing.

    “I had no customers again,” said Maud, very loud. Even though Frank was at the back of the shop and she was at the front, there was technically no need to shout. The shops on Unity Street were only the size of a front room. “Are you listening?”

    “I’m listening.”

    “You don’t look like you’re listening.”

    Frank took off his headphones. Smiled. He felt laugh lines spring all over his face, and his eyes crinkled at the corners. “See? I’m always listening.”

    Maud made a noise like ham. Then she said, “One man called in, but it wasn’t for a tattoo. He just wanted directions to the new precinct.”

    Father Anthony said he’d sold a paperweight in his gift shop. Also, a leather bookmark with the Lord’s Prayer stamped on it. He seemed more than happy about that.

    “If it stays like this, I’ll be closed by summer.”

    “You won’t, Maud. You’ll be fine.” They had this conversation all the time. She said how awful things were, and Frank said they weren’t, Maud, they weren’t. You two are like a stuck record, Kit told them, which might have been funny except that he said it every night, and besides, they weren’t a couple. Frank was very much a single man.

    “Do you know how many funerals the undertakers have had?”

    “No, Maud.”

    “Two. Two since Christmas. What’s wrong with people?”

    “Maybe they’re not dying,” suggested Kit.

    “Of course they’re dying. People don’t come here anymore. All they want is that crap on the High Street.”

    Only last month the florist had gone. Her empty shop stood on one end of the parade like a bad tooth, and a few nights ago, the baker’s window—he was at the other end—had been defaced with slogans. Frank had fetched a bucket of soapy water but it took all morning to wash them off.

    “There have always been shops on Unity Street,” said Father Anthony. “We’re a community. We belong here.”

    Saturday Kit passed with a box of new 12-inch singles, narrowly missing a lava lamp. He seemed to have abandoned Emmylou Harris. “We had another shoplifter today,” he said, apropos of not very much at all. “First he flipped because we had no CDs. Then he asked to look at a record and made a run for it.”

    “What was it this time?”

    “Genesis. Invisible Touch.”

    “What did you do, Frank?”

    “Oh, he did the usual,” said Kit.

    Yes, Frank had done the sort of thing he always did. He’d grabbed his old suede jacket and loped after the young man until he caught him at the bus stop. (What kind of thief waited for the number 11?) He’d said, between...
About the Author-
  • Rachel Joyce is the author of the Sunday Times and international bestsellers The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and Perfect. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book Prize and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and has been translated into thirty-six languages. Joyce was named the Specsavers National Book Awards “New Writer of the Year” in 2012. She is also the author of The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy, The Music Shop, and the digital short story A Faraway Smell of Lemon and is the award-winning writer of more than thirty original afternoon plays and classic adaptations for BBC Radio 4. Rachel Joyce lives with her family in Gloucestershire.
Reviews-
  • Library Journal

    August 1, 2017

    Best-selling author Joyce first boomed big with the Man Booker long-listed The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, which was swiftly followed by the LibraryReads pick The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy. Set in 1988, her new title features record store owner Frank, who can find exactly the record each customer needs among vinyl-only merchandise ranging from classical to punk. Quiet and questing, Ilse Brauchmann is a different sort of customer altogether; she wants Frank to tell her about music itself.

    Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    November 13, 2017
    Joyce (The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry) has a winner in this deceptively simple love story about Frank, owner of a London hole-in-the-wall music store selling vinyl records in 1988. Adamant about not selling cassette tapes or CDs, Frank is a loner raised by an eccentric but loving mother who taught him to cherish all kinds of music. His extraordinary gift is knowing the precise song people need to hear at a particular time in their lives, and his musical selections have miraculous results. Frank’s small circle of friends own shops on this out-of-the-way street: Maud, who secretly pines for Frank, has a tattoo parlor; ex-priest Father Anthony sells religious artifacts; the twin Williams brothers run a family funeral business. Frank’s life is upturned when a mysterious stranger, Ilse Brauchmann, appears outside his store and promptly faints. The magical trajectory of Frank and Ilse’s relationship is nicely balanced against the thread about a threatening real estate company that wants to destroy Frank’s tiny store. Joyce’s odes to music—from Aretha Franklin and J.S. Bach to Puccini and the Sex Pistols—and the notion that the perfect song can transform one’s life make this novel a triumph.

  • Kirkus

    November 1, 2017
    Stocking only vinyl in his London music shop, Frank Adair has the ability to select the perfect song to ease each customer's spiritual crisis.The son of a music-obsessed mother, Frank grew up learning about Beethoven's silences, Vivaldi's funeral, Bach's eyes, and Miles Davis' sly sense of humor. By the time he was a teen, he was teaching his mother, Peg, about Joao Gilberto, Joni Mitchell, and Van Morrison. After Peg's death, Frank opens his store in a small cluster of shops. Defying land developers and CD-pushing record reps, Frank eschews alphabetical and genre-based organizational systems in favor of delightfully placing Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons," ABC's "The Lexicon of Love," and Coltrane's "A Love Supreme" in the same bin--after all, each is a concept album. He's a musical therapist, dosing heartache with Aretha Franklin and fussy babies with the Troggs. With his exuberant assistant manager, Kit, and fellow shopkeepers--including Maud, the tattoo artist; Mr. Novak, the baker; the Williams brothers, funeral directors; and Father Anthon, who has left the church to run a religious souvenir shop--Frank is part of a cozy, quirky community, well-insulated from the risks of falling in love...until Ilse Brauchmann faints in front of his store. Immediately smitten with each other, Ilse and Frank realize they are star-crossed when Ilse admits not only that she has a fiance, but also--even worse--she doesn't listen to music. Yet she asks Frank to describe music to her; thus begins a journey into the emotional terrain charted by "The Moonlight Sonata," "Ain't it Funky Now, Parts 1 and 2," and even "God Save the Queen," the Sex Pistols' version. Joyce (The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, 2016, etc.) sets up a charming cast of characters, and her spirals into the sonic landscapes of brilliant musicians are delightful, casting a vivid backdrop for the quietly desperate romance between Frank and Ilse.From nocturnes to punk, this musical romance is ripe for filming.

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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