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vinyl-2786526_1920Initial thoughts: I won an advanced copy of this book from the Goodreads giveaway. This was my first time reading a novel by Rachel Joyce. After finishing The Music Shop, I discovered her novel The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, which is definitely on my to read list.

Plot Summary

It’s 1988. The CD has arrived. Sales of the shiny new disks are soaring on high streets in cities across the England. Meanwhile, down a dead-end street, Frank’s music shop stands small and brightly lit, jam-packed with records of every kind. It attracts the lonely, the sleepless, the adrift. There is room for everyone. Frank has a gift for finding his customers the music they need.
Into this shop arrives Ilse Brauchmann–practical, brave, well-heeled. Frank falls for this curious woman who always dresses in green. But Ilse’s reasons for visiting the shop are not what they seem.
Frank’s passion for Ilse seems as misguided as his determination to save vinyl. How can a man so in tune with other people’s needs be so incapable of helping himself? And what will it take to show he loves her? – Goodreads

About the book
Title: The Music Shop
Author: Rachel Joyce
Series: N/A
Expected Publication: November 7, 2017
Genres & Subjects: fiction, contemporary, music

The Review

Music is a part of my everyday life. I hear music in the mall or at the grocery store, I listen to music on my IPod, or my computer. Music is everywhere! It is rare that I ever stop and consider how music makes me feel. In a fleeting instant, I might sing along or tap my foot. I never stopped and considered what it is like to create music. Or how each element in a song, including silence, creates an atmospheric portrait of what the song is about.

Rachel Joyce’s The Music Shop made me stop and consider the beauty behind music as if I were taking a music appreciation class. 

The story is set in London in 1988 during the transition to CDs. In nearly every music shop in London, stores are pushing forth the sales of CDs, but Frank, the proud owner of the music shop on Unity street refuses to switch from vinyl. But Frank is no ordinary man. The moment someone walks in his shop, Frank can tell which record you need, even if it is not the one you came to buy. And Frank is never wrong. His innate gift of music can pierce through the most stubborn souls, even for those who only like to listen to Chopin.

One day, Frank encounters Ilse Brauchmann, a mysterious German woman with eyes like vinyl. She asks him to teach her about music. Reluctantly, Frank agrees to give her music appreciation lessons. Meanwhile, one by one, the shops on Unity street are being bought out by land developers. Will Frank be able to keep his music shop?

One of the first things I noticed about The Music Shop is the atmospheric nature of the novel. Many novels do not have a firm sense of time and place. It was as if I could hop into the book and stroll around Union Street and wander into Frank’s music shop. I wondered what he could recommend to me, a Japanese rock music fanatic.

The way music is discussed in the book reminds me a lot of my English literature classes. Sometimes there is beauty in the way something is written and how it sounds to the ear. Specific words can invoke images and associations. It is the same with music. Instead of words, it is the instruments and the sounds they make, or the lack thereof.

The characters in The Music Shop are well developed, though they are a little bland in my eyes. It seems as if I have encountered these sorts of characters before in varying degrees. While this familiarity feels comforting on one hand, on the other, I know that in a few months time I will probably forget this book. Frank was an interesting character, but it seemed as if I didn’t have the chance to fully get to know him. He was a difficult character to imagine. As for the other characters, I enjoyed their good-natured humour, especially Kit, Frank’s assistant.

I would recommend this book to music lovers, and those who are interested in absorbing a quick light read.

The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce is on sale November 7, 2017. 

Final rating:

A B

Until Next Time,

-Alice

 

 

 

 

 

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