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The Emperor Waltz

by Philip Hensher

You'll need time to explore the several strands in this episodic book but that worked for me. It sent me to refresh my view of the Bauhaus style, to read lives of saints, to listen again to music. Each narrative, an engaging story with memorable characters, some humorous some sad, is linked by echoes and threads. The overall theme is freedom of belief, be it in art, gay rights or religion. It's hard to stand up but you will pass the flame on.

Extract

'Books are like that. They go into the world. They're like us. We've got to go even though there aren't many of us and even though the world hates us and would put us in gaol and wants us to die of this disease. A book can go out into the world. It's like a ten-pound note, it's like a virus, it's like an idea, it's like a brilliant joke, it's like a tune, it goes from one person to another. It never stops ....'

Parallels

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
The Swimming Pool Library by Alan Hollinghurst
 

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