The Gustav Sonata

  • by Rose Tremain
  • Narrated by Mark Meadows
  • 9 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Gustav Perle grows up in a small town in Switzerland where the horrors of the Second World War seem distant. He adores his mother, but she treats him with bitter severity, disapproving especially of his intense friendship with Anton, the Jewish boy at school. A gifted pianist, Anton is tortured by stage fright; only in secret games with Gustav does his imagination thrive.
But Gustav is taught that he must develop a hard shell, 'like a coconut', to protect the softness inside - just like the hard shell perfected by his country to protect its neutrality. But despite this hard shell, nothing in Gustav's life can be called neutral. Older and increasingly curious about his absent father, Gustav discovers the traces of an erotic love affair - traces which still glow white-hot even now.
Fierce, astringent, profoundly tender and spanning the 20th century, Rose Tremain's beautifully orchestrated novel explores the big themes of betrayal and the struggle for happiness and, above all, the passionate love of a childhood friendship as it is tested over a lifetime.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


The book started off really well. About halfway through, I felt bored and wanted it to finish. I persevered to the end, hoping for something interesting to happen, but I was disappointed. it was dull and predictable. I didn't like the narrator. I thought that some of the voices he used were ridiculous. I thought his performance was disjointed, as though he wasn't interested in the story and just reading from a page. Not recommended!
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- GeeSaun

This is what fiction is for.

Rose Tremain was never a fast starter and I admit I struggled a little at the start, but as a writer she has earned my trust many times over and of course I stuck with it.

And her slow moving story stealthily grows in scope and reach and in depth. It seems to me that she brings now the skill of a short story writer to her characters, painting the essence of whole lives with deft and spare strokes. It centers around Gustav, but all the folk around him live and breath are with me now long after I have finished the story. This is what fiction is for.
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- John

Book Details

  • Release Date: 19-05-2016
  • Publisher: Audible Studios