£12.99 – £80.00
You’re not likely to encounter another book like this in a hurry. Brilliantly (and wittily) weaving together art history, psychology and theology, it invites us to think about imagination and truth, presence and absence, and the way in which human beings manage to avoid noticing what is significant – but not quite successfully enough to make them comfortable.
As two people quietly discuss Bernhard Strigel’s paintings of the guardians at the tomb, their voices blend and clash with the panicked voices of the guards themselves. A stunning short novel.
Given Griffiths’s career as a librettist and musicologist, a distinctly Da Ponte-ish symmetry between “high” and “low” voices and a certain exactitude of pacing and weight, it is tempting to postulate music as a suggestive absence in the book, a kind of dark matter that might fill and charge the spaces between and alongside the words.
Keith Miller, The TLS
There is no doubt that this is in a different league. Drop the Booker book you’re reading and read this instead.
Praise for Mr. Beethoven:
The composer winds up in Boston. He brings his time, his temperament and his sense of democracy to us. But he can’t possibly fit in.
Mark Swed – Los Angeles Times
Paul stands shoulder to shoulder with the Thomas Mann of Dr. Faustus. Bypassing the eardrum, impressions flash in the mind, leaving traces impossible to distinguish from memories.
Matthew Gurewitsch – Beyond Criticism
Mr. Beethoven is a novel about interpretation: about how a writer might go about interpreting the life of one of the most well-known… composers who ever lived, but also about the role interpretation plays in creativity of all kinds. It is also, like much of Griffiths’s work, a riddling, playful, and often very funny investigation of literary form, and a demonstration of the unexpected liberation that can emerge from self-imposed constraints.
Jon Day – Music & Literature
A ride that compels you to join from the get go. It’s innovative, clever and has surprises at every chapter. This is a ‘what if’ tale like no other.
Robert Pisani – The Bobsphere
Where there are multiple interpretations, [Griffiths] explores the alternatives before settling on his choice. It is a bit like watching an organ transplant operation as space is made, the new part inserted and then everything is connected carefully to make it seem like the new organ has always been there.
Neil – Goodreads member
Few publishers can match HFP’s stratospherically high production standards.
by Paul Griffiths
The Tomb Guardians awake to find the tomb empty and one of their number missing. Their conversation overlaps with another – an anguished lecturer and friend exploring the Renaissance Master portraits they occupy. One looks back at the dawn of the Reformation, the other thrashes out an excuse.
Author of Mr. Beethoven (The Goldsmiths Prize 2020 shortlist; The Walter Scott Prize 2021 and Republic of Consciousness Prize 2021 longlists), Paul Griffiths sustains this theme: the power of the imagination to unlock history.
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|Dimensions||19 × 13 × 1 cm|
Artists Book, Paperback