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Book giveaway: The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain. Post your feedback by 5 August for chance to win £100 Love2Shop Voucher!

(84 Posts)
SorchaMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 31-May-16 17:21:45

This month, we're thrilled to introduce you to Rose Tremain. Her latest novel The Gustav Sonata is both magnificent and tender, showing Tremain to be at the height of her writing career. Set in post-war Switzerland, it follows the story of Gustav Perle, who since losing his father, seems to have lost his mother in spirit too. Gustav leads an isolated life until he meets Anton and from then on the boys' fates are irrevocably entwined. What follows is a friendship across years, borders and in the face of great loss. To find out more about this heart-wrenching novel, head to the book page.

Rose Tremain Q&A

What are you reading now?

I'm gripped by Peter Pomerantsev's extraordinary account of filming documentaries in Putin's Russia, Nothing is True and Everything is Possible. This deservedly won this year's Ondaatje Prize. It makes me dread going to Russia, where bribery and summary arrest seem to be becoming the terrifying norm of people's lives.

What is the last book you bought someone as a gift?

Patricia Duncker's brilliant (but underrated) Sophie and the Sybil: a fabulously witty and clever take on George Eliot's fiction, with bits of her life thrown in. Read this, then attempt Daniel Deronda! This novel should have won prizes.

Is research a big part of your writing process?

All my subjects lie outside my own immediate life, so inevitably my research has to be long and exacting. But novelists should never put their research on show; it should all seem an integral part of the fiction, as though one had known it forever, or just thought it up that very moment. Many contemporary novels suffer from horrendous 'data overload'.

Do you have any peculiar writing rituals or habits?

Nothing peculiar. Probably the most eccentric thing I did a few years ago was to redecorate my study (which was drab like an office) to resemble a delightful small sitting room: wallpaper with birds and flowers, bright red and gold curtains, globe lamps. I spend HOURS in here, so why not make it pretty?

What advice would you offer to aspiring writers?

Don't recycle your own life. Find something you are passionately interested in, research that and then write about that- bringing yourself in only as the mind and voice behind the endeavour. That way you will a) learn something and b) not run out of material by the time you're 50.

Can you tell us about your book, The Gustav Sonata?

This is a story set in 'neutral' Switzerland, before during and sometime after the Second World War. It explores a passionate friendship between two boys, Gustav and Anton, one of whom is Jewish. Their attempts to keep this friendship emotionally 'neutral' is the thing which nearly destroys both their lives.

This giveaway is now closed but you don't have to win a free copy to take part in the discussion. Anyone who has read The Gustav Sonata can post their feedback. If you miss out on a free one, you can always buy a copy. All who post feedback before 5 August will be entered into a prize draw to win a £100 Love2shop voucher.

This giveaway is sponsored by Vintage Books

SorchaMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 10-Jun-16 11:29:28

Meet Rose Tremain by reading her answers to the questions in the OP!

Clawdy Thu 23-Jun-16 11:37:58

I've had an email saying my book should have arrived, but it hasn't yet?

voyager50 Thu 23-Jun-16 11:49:02

Mine hasn't either- Sorcha knows about it though and I think she is going to contact the publisher for us.

iwantavuvezela Thu 23-Jun-16 11:50:45

My book has also not arrived, cannot wait to read it as Rose Tremain is one of my favourite authors.

voyager50 Thu 23-Jun-16 12:09:43

Hopefully the for reviews will also be extended.

voyager50 Thu 23-Jun-16 12:10:17

- sorry missed the word 'date' from previous post!

SorchaMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 29-Jun-16 11:20:58

Hi all

Sorry about the delay on this one- the books were sent out last week so should be with you v.shortly! I've amended the feedback deadline to 2 August to give you plenty of time to read and talk about it over the summer. Thanks!

voyager50 Sat 02-Jul-16 23:51:39

Still no sign of my copy.

Does anyone else have their's yet?

minsmum Sun 03-Jul-16 22:25:33

No sign of it yet

HeyMacWey Thu 07-Jul-16 14:47:35

My copy has arrived - looking forward to starting it.

Sunflower22 Fri 08-Jul-16 10:44:30

Only two words - absolutely magnificient.

voyager50 Fri 08-Jul-16 14:01:59

Mine has finally arrived! Look forward to reading it soon and leaving my review.

1969angep Mon 11-Jul-16 13:03:17

I have just finished this book and oh my! I confess that I was a little underwhelmed by the description and cover when it arrived but I'm so glad I didn't judge a book by its cover on this occasion. This tale is just so poignant and heartbreaking at times. A group of characters who should be happy but for various reasons are not. Guatav's mothers behaviour at the beginning of the book is explained in the second section and your heart lurches and understands why she is as she is. So many loves are lost and so many lives lived in disappointment but yet this is in no way a depressing read. The characters are all really well drawn and I felt that the author really let us into their hearts and souls. A beautiful book that I couldn't stop reading once I'd started. I need to immediately go and check out some of the author's other works!

iwantavuvezela Mon 11-Jul-16 13:07:30

Mine has arrived, and I have given it the due diligence a new book deserves.
I have smelt it.
I have caressed its cover
I have read the back and the cover several times
I have flicked through the pages to savour its newness ....

I am also pleased to read that 1969angep says not to judge it by its description, as I also felt a little overwhelmed by that description .....

I am starting this tonight, and will come back to review.

Rose Tremain is one of my favourite authors - and I know that once I start I wont put it down, so I am savouring that moment before I dive in!

voyager50 Tue 12-Jul-16 09:28:50

I am getting towards the end of the book as it is a quick but enjoyable read - I'm going away tomorrow so I'm determined to finish it before I leave!

When I first started it I thought I would struggle as it didn't instantly draw me in but it only took a couple of chapters before I was connecting with the characters.

It is a simple tale of love, loss and friendship that is told in a gentle, honest way.

I like the way the book is split into 3 sections focusing on Gustav's childhood, the story of his parents and the adult Gustav.

My heart went out to Gustav and his parents several times but I can't say why without spoiling the plot.

I haven't read any of Rose Tremain's other books before so I think I will now.

foxessocks Thu 14-Jul-16 15:02:51

I've just finished my copy of the Gustav Sonata - thank you! I really enjoyed it. I found it quite unusual but in a really good way and I also think I will dig out some more by the author. Her writing is really beautiful. I enjoyed the three different sections of the book as it made you have to wait for certain explanations of behaviour and then it becomes much clearer. I don't want to give too much away but at times I was very moved and upset by the book and other times I felt quite uplifted although I overall I ended up feeling more sadness! I did keep expecting a bit twist or a big huge event to happen...not sure what it was I was waiting for because actually it didn't need it as it was quite subtle which made it more beautiful. It's a hard one to explain!

Overall though I did really enjoy it and loved the style of writing. Thanks again for my copy!

juleslucas Thu 14-Jul-16 20:46:06

Thank you MN for the review copy. This wouldn't be something I would automatically pick up in a bookshop but I am intrigued with this book, I really want to know how this ends.

Love the structure of the book, the short chapters and the three sections.

mave Fri 15-Jul-16 06:25:13

Sounds great, would love to receive a copy?!

ell5454 Fri 15-Jul-16 06:38:51

I really enjoyed the book, I found the pacing very good and Gustav an interesting and sympathetic character. I found the tension bubbling under the surface really well written.

ricola1 Fri 15-Jul-16 07:25:01

Loved it!!

izbiz88 Fri 15-Jul-16 07:46:30

This sounds amazing, I will definitely have to purchase a copy smile

juju3 Fri 15-Jul-16 08:53:38

Wonderful piece - superbly well performed

barbsbarbs Fri 15-Jul-16 09:03:49

this novel hits all the right notes for me, it has an intensity that makes you want to keep on reading into gustavs life and to hope that things wil gte better for him. as the young gustav has to endure cruelty and a lack of love but goes on to enjoy and expereince music as an escape.

phillie1 Fri 15-Jul-16 09:13:44

Great book

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