Published: 28/03/2014
ISBN: 9781783061693
Format: Paperback

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Lindsay Grattan Cooper was born in a sleepy seaside village in South Africa, but soon moved with her family to Cape Town and has remained, ostensibly at least, a city girl since then. On completion of... read more

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Our Kind of Music
by Lindsay Grattan Cooper

This is a story of people you might know.
Some kindly men, a few hysterical women, sons who cause exasperation...
It is a story of halted dreams, of new dreams dreamed,
of love and loyalty, and love and disloyalty.

Our Kind of Music follows one man’s journey along a highway initially perceived to be clear of obstacles but which, inevitably, presents hurdles he could not anticipate. It is also the story of his son, whose bravado leads him along a different path to the soul-searching that this ultimately entails.

Set against shifting backgrounds – some as exotic as the Seychelles and Tahiti, some as safely domestic as New England’s Vermont and old England’s Dorset, and others as vibrant as Sydney and New York, this story is rich in personality, fostering an innate knowledge of who the characters are and how they feel. Not all are liked, but some are so deeply loved that they linger in the senses, and by the end you might almost expect to bump into them, like old friends, on Main Street.

This novel is set over four decades, starting in 1937 and culminating in early 1982, less driven by the events of those years than merely touched by them, just as world events are experienced by ordinary lives. But always, always, running through those years, there is music…

Our Kind of Music is a book about ordinary people attempting to lead ordinary lives (not always successfully), and though it is not without doses of light trauma, readers will discover a strong sense of place all around the world, and a nostalgic theme of music running throughout.

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This is the story of Jack Pike whose carefree golden future was happily mapped out before he joined an informal foursome for tennis that changed everything. This tale takes us from his youth in beautiful Vermont, USA, through a protracted route to Cape Town, South Africa, spanning in between such settings as England’s rural Dorset, the Pacific Ocean, Australia, and the Indian Ocean. It is also the story of love and loyalty, and love and disloyalty, and of Jack’s beloved son who tests their bonds through his own lifestyle in New York. Beginning in 1937, the story ends in early 1982, touching lightly on world affairs as they occur, and affecting the protagonists with little more than glancing blows except when hard enough to change the course of their histories. It is, however, the evolution of popular music through those times that weaves the deepest nostalgia, not least for Jack himself whose very soul is music.

“My daughter was a demanding toddler when I conceived this book as a form of self- defence against mind-atrophying hours playing with blocks on the floor! My solution was to call on my imagination where she could not trespass, and while I sat with her, created this story and all its characters, even the girl who made up a casual fourth for tennis and then entrenched herself in the book, against my intentions. My toddler is now charmingly adult and notably undemanding, and the book also has had a metamorphosis – growing from hasty jottings when allowed, through copious handwritten pages to an electric typewriter and eventually, at the dawn of home PCs, through floppy disks to the USB stick where it resides today. Like the chief protagonists of this novel, it is a book with a history.”

Goodreads, 31 May

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