The Bellwether Revivals

Benjamin Wood

The Bellwether Revivals

Bright, bookish Oscar Lowe has escaped the urban estate where he was raised and made a new life for himself amid the colleges and spires of Cambridge. He has grown to love the quiet routine of his life as a care assistant at a local nursing home, where he has forged a close friendship with the home's most ill-tempered resident, Dr. Paulsen. But when he meets and falls in love with Iris Bellwether, a beautiful and enigmatic medical student at King's College, Oscar is drawn into her world of scholarship and privilege, and soon becomes embroiled in the strange machinations of her brilliant but troubled brother, Eden, who believes he can adapt the theories of a forgotten Baroque composer to heal people with music. 3.2 out of 5 based on 4 reviews
The Bellwether Revivals

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre General Fiction
Format Hardcover
Pages 432
RRP £12.99
Date of Publication February 2012
ISBN 978-0857206954
Publisher Simon & Schuster
 

Bright, bookish Oscar Lowe has escaped the urban estate where he was raised and made a new life for himself amid the colleges and spires of Cambridge. He has grown to love the quiet routine of his life as a care assistant at a local nursing home, where he has forged a close friendship with the home's most ill-tempered resident, Dr. Paulsen. But when he meets and falls in love with Iris Bellwether, a beautiful and enigmatic medical student at King's College, Oscar is drawn into her world of scholarship and privilege, and soon becomes embroiled in the strange machinations of her brilliant but troubled brother, Eden, who believes he can adapt the theories of a forgotten Baroque composer to heal people with music.

Reviews

The Independent on Sunday

Daniel Hahn

In prose that's unfussy but effortlessly vivid, filled with nice descriptive flourishes (he's good at quite difficult things, such as describing the growing sound of music as it thickens the air of a room), Wood's confident, sometimes creepy debut novel draws you in – like the faintly heard strain from that hauntingly played pipe-organ – and then, once you're inside, holds on, ever tightening its grip.

12/02/2012

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The Daily Mail

Stephanie Cross

It’s hard to take this novel as seriously as it takes itself, but suspend your disbelief and there’s no doubt it’s a highly effective (if somewhat melodramatic) page-turner.

03/02/2012

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Times Literary Supplement

David Evans

Of Wood’s own performance, we could simply say that he plays all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order. That proleptic opening, while suitably arresting, drains the finale of suspense (we anticipate the identity of the three bodies long before the end). Dialogue can ring false, and the prose is merely efficient, with a reliance on well-worn phrases (“the book got under his skin”; “he didn’t move a muscle”). But while Wood’s writing lacks the affective power he claims for music, this is nevertheless a promising first novel.

24/02/2012

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The Guardian

Samantha Harvey

If the novel's closed world of privileged Cambridge students becomes a little stultifying at times, there are moments of expansive beauty that compensate – an imaginary moonlit tennis game between Oscar and Iris, for example ... Where the novel falters perhaps is in its ability to support the weight of its themes. On the whole the characters are not deeply drawn and are very much defined by the needs of the plot.

16/03/2012

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