I listened to Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata as I wrote my review of The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce.
You can probably already tell that this is a book with a playlist.
The Music Shop is set during the 1980’s. The main character, Frank, is a shaggy, shambling, good hearted fellow who has no intention of becoming romantically involved with anyone. He owns a record shop in a run-down street and refuses to sell CDs, to the detriment of his business. When a German-accented woman faints outside his shop, Frank rushes to assist her and falls instantly in love with her, although he will not admit it, not even to himself.
Ilse, the woman who fainted, also seems to be drawn to Frank, his shop and the community of misfits who surround them. Frank has a knack of finding the right music for his customer’s needs, but Ilse insists she doesn’t listen to music. Frank is astounded, even more so when she asks Frank to teach her about music. He starts with Beethoven.
‘The “Moonlight” Sonata is by Beethoven. Do you, uh, know Beethoven?’
‘Aren’t they a rock band?’
I loved reading Frank’s stories as he taught Ilse about music. As an example, apparently the Moonlight Sonata was not named by Beethoven and the music had nothing to do with moonlight. According to Frank, Beethoven wrote the piece for a beautiful woman he was in love with, however she was young enough to be his daughter and engaged to another man. Listening to the Moonlight Sonata was a different experience after learning the story of it.
I’ve previously read and enjoyed The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by this author, so was predisposed to like The Music Shop.
Before I finished writing this review I watched a flash mob* sing the Hallelujah Chorus in the food court of a shopping mall. It brought me to tears, just as a similar scene in the story did.
*I was lucky enough to see a flash mob at Flinder’s Street Station in Melbourne on my way to work earlier this year. A group of men came together, seemingly randomly to sang the Beach Boy’s Sloop John B, then disappeared into the crowd. It made my day.