Author(s): Sarah Laing
Classical is karaoke - playing covers of dead people's music - or so Wellingtonian Hannah concludes when she sabotages her London conservatorium scholarship. But she wants to keep playing, like her grandmother, Klara, from whom she inherited a cello. The instrument was broken at a party when Hannah was a teenager, and she's still trying to atone for its damage, and to come to terms with her coinciding diagnosis of diabetes. Unmoored from the classical discipline, Hannah turns to composing her own songs. She's in New York City now, where Klara grew up, and her great aunt still lives, guarding the cello's twin. Can Hannah procure it and appease her father? And how does Klara's past inform Hannah's music? As Hannah investigates her Jewish-refugee heritage, she also has to contend with domestic issues: is she with the right man, or should she swap stability for lust, in the form of her visiting first boyfriend? And how much longer can she live with a neurotic, junk-scavenging flatmate, on the verge of murdering another zebra fish?
Shortlisted for PANZ Book Design Awards: Non-Illustrated Book 2010.