Book Review: Sound by T.M. Wolf

Title: Sound
Author: T.M. Wolf
Publisher: Faber and Faber
ISBN: 978-0-571-27227-3
Genre: Literary Fiction
Pages: 367
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4/5

So every once a while, a novel is written that breaks the traditional mould of the novel and astounds readers. I felt that way when I first read, “House of Leaves” by Mark Z. Danielewski, for its sheer scope and difference in the way it was written. The entire book is written in the form of a music score –yes that is the difference and very well-done at that.

The plot is this: Cincy is a graduate student who only has music on his mind. He drops out of graduate school and returns to his hometown on the New Jersey shore, only to find that home is not how he remembers it. Cincy then spends his days managing the crew of a local boatyard; his nights are spent roaming the shore’s bars and boardwalks.

Cincy, as expected falls in love with a woman called Vera. He cannot earn her love, so it only turns to an obsession. He pursues her through the city’s clubs and wild parties, with music and noise being the essential elements, and amidst all this, Cincy is being trailed by the police at every step, who have other plans for him and the co-workers.

Now, I loved the way this book is written. As it is inventive in nature, it does take a lot of time to sink into it. Having said that, once you start it, you will not be able to put it down. The book worked with me on various levels – of isolation, identity and finding oneself amongst the crazy of every-day living.

T.M. Wolf has written the book as it is meant to be – without sugar coating anything or any character. The writing is bold and in-your-face and works with Music and Sound being the backdrop. The language is breathtaking at times – when the love bits enter the book and that is when you see the range of the writer – from writing about dark territories to writing about the nature of love, the contrast is much needed.

I loved the book. There was a lot that I could relate to, at various points in the book. There are a lot of musical references, which makes it entertaining. Sound is a love story, a search for meaning, what it means to be a dropout, the need to get back to your roots and find yourself in the madness. I recommend Sound if you want to read something inventive and imaginative at the same time.


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