The Gustav Sonata
Winner of the 2016 National Jewish Book Award for Fiction
A poignant tale about the enduring friendship between two men under the shadow of the Second World War.
Gustav Perle grows up in a small town in Switzerland, where the horrors of the Second World War seem only a distant echo. An only child, he lives alone with Emilie, the mother he adores but who treats him with bitter severity. He begins an intense friendship with a Jewish boy his age, talented and mercurial Anton Zweibel, a budding concert pianist. The novel follows Gustav's family, tracing the roots of his mother's anti-Semitism and its impact on her son and his beloved friend. Moving backward to the war years and the painful repercussions of an act of conscience, and forward through the lives and careers of the two men, one who becomes a hotel owner, the other a concert pianist, The Gustav Sonata explores the passionate love of childhood friendship as it is lost, transformed, and regained over a lifetime. It is a powerful and deeply moving addition to the beloved oeuvre of one of our greatest contemporary novelists.
Shortlisted for Costa Novel Award 2017
Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction Longlist 2017
"This is a perfect novel about life's imperfection... Tremain is writing at the height of her inimitable powers... Remarkable and moving novel." -- Kate Kellaway Observer "The Gustav Sonata is a magnificent novel, heartbreaking, unsentimental and beautifully written, and it reinforces my opinion that there are few writers out there with the dexterity or emotional intelligence to rival that of the great Rose Tremain." -- John Boyne The Irish Times "Beautifully tender and brilliantly written novel... A tale of the most powerful part of any friendship: love. *****" Stylist "In The Gustav Sonata, Tremain once again proves herself to be a writer of exceptional talent ... Previous novels like The Road Home have already showcased her staggering sensitivity and capacity for empathy but they're here again, magnificently undiminished. Tremain is a writer who understands every emotion ... and it's ultimately this understanding that has produced another exquisite book" -- Matt Cain i "Tremain has the painterly genius of an Old Master, and she uses it to stunning effect... Glorious." -- Melissa Katsoulis The Times
Rose Tremain's bestselling novels have been published in thirty countries and have won many awards, including the Orange Prize (The Road Home), the Whitbread Novel of the Year (Music & Silence) and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize (Sacred Country); Restoration was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Rose Tremain was made a CBE in 2007 and was appointed Chancellor of the University of East Anglia in 2013. She lives in Norfolk and London with the biographer, Richard Holmes. www.rosetremain.co.uk