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The Chimes by Anna Smaill
  

The Chimes

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One of our Books of the Year 2015.

Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2015.

A book of contrasts: charming and disturbing; exciting and slow building; post-apocalyptic and brand new. With no real memories, just the day-to-day habits of life and work, how do people understand who they are? Where they come from? Why they do what they do? Into this unsettling version of London comes a boy who can hold his memories stronger than most and he meets another with truly remarkable gifts. Most of the imagery and metaphor is derived from music, for example moving presto or lento for fast and slow. This gives an interesting rhythm to the prose. The world is ruled by music but the music is not kind. The narrator is fascinating, leading the reader through a slow build-up to a startlingly abrupt ending. It really got under my skin. An excellent book. ~ Sarah Broadhurst

If you like Anna Smaill you might also like to read books by Jane Rushbridge, Ali Shaw and Jane Rushbridge.

Synopsis

The Chimes by Anna Smaill

A Bookseller Best Debut of 2015 One to Watch 2015 Huffington Post An Amazon Rising Star 'The Chimes is a remarkable debut. It's inventive, beautifully written, and completely absorbing. I highly recommend it.' Kevin Powers, author of The Yellow Birds A mind-expanding literary debut composed of memory, music and imagination. A boy stands on the roadside on his way to London, alone in the rain. No memories, beyond what he can hold in his hands at any given moment. No directions, as written words have long since been forbidden. No parents - just a melody that tugs at him, a thread to follow. A song that says if he can just get to the capital, he may find some answers about what happened to them. The world around Simon sings, each movement a pulse of rhythm, each object weaving its own melody, music ringing in every drop of air. Welcome to the world of The Chimes. Here, life is orchestrated by a vast musical instrument that renders people unable to form new memories. The past is a mystery, each new day feels the same as the last, and before is blasphony. But slowly, inexplicably, Simon is beginning to remember. He emerges from sleep each morning with a pricking feeling, and sense there is something he urgently has to do. In the city Simon meets Lucien, who has a gift for hearing, some secrets of his own, and a theory about the danger lurking in Simon's past. A stunning debut composed of memory, music, love and freedom, The Chimes pulls you into a world that will captivate, enthral and inspire.

Reviews

'Cleverly orchestrated and poignantly conveyed throughout.' Guardian

'Smaill is a former musician with a book of poetry already to her name. The Chimes has strong echoes of both these influences as we're taken on a strange and lyrical journey through a dystopian England ... The intrinsic links between music and memory suffuse this dreamy narrative ... the idiosyncratic world [that] Smaill has lovingly created using melodic and musical syntax - her narrative style brimming with invention and nuance.' The Big Issue

'The pleasure lies in getting to grips with the rules of this eerie dystopia and the unusual vocabulary Smaill has minted to describe it.' Metro

'Atmospheric, intensely-imagined strangeness' Daily Mail

'SUPERB... intriguing, ambitious and strikingly written.' James Kidd, Independent on Sunday

About the Author

Anna Smaill

Anna Smaill is a classically trained violinist and published poet. Born in Auckland in 1979, she holds an MA in Creative Writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters (Wellington), an MA in English Literature from the University of Auckland and a PhD in contemporary American poetry from University College London. She is the author of one book of poetry (The Violinist in Spring, VUP 2005) and her poems have been published and anthologised in New Zealand and the United Kingdom. She has lived and worked in both Tokyo and London, and now lives in New Zealand with her husband, novelist Carl Shuker, and their daughter.

Author photo © Natalie Graham

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Book Info

Publication date

14th January 2016

Author

Anna Smaill

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Author's Website

www.annasmaill.com/
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Publisher

Sceptre an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton General Division

Format

Paperback
304 pages

Categories

Literary Fiction
All Shortlists and Winners
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9781444794502

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