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The Melody by Jim Crace

You can listen to a classical piece of music and be instantly inspired. Whether it lifts your mood, or incites that knot in your body when the piece is laden with sadness, it’s a piece of melody that will linger. The Melody by Jim Crace feels like a piece that’s going to be embedded in your psyche.

Albert Busi lost his wife a few years ago, and feels like the years have caught up with him. Memories intertwine with the present, and the occurrences of the otherworldly are obscured with reality. The emptiness of losing his wife, is juxtaposed with his longing for his sister-in-law. Jim Crace goes to lengths to weave in the constant obsession. For a lonely widower, there is an idle calm to the ramblings.

It’s a slow journey of life and aging. Where have the years gone wonders Busi. When did he get old? He contemplates what the neighbours think of him… perhaps a lonely old man. He is well know in the town for his music and his songs.

The reference to melody is perhaps intertwined with the memory of Busi’s late wife. It’s a string of events that causes it. A late night snack craving. A trip to the larder. A string of Persian bells on the door sound a beautiful melody.

One night a creature attacks him in his home. Unsure if it is man or beast, Busi is naturally rattled by the incident. Not only has this creature ripped his flesh, and scared the hell out of him, but its also tripped the bells in the larder that always reminded him of the memory of his wife.

As much as The Melody is a story of loss and survival, it’s also a story of hope and renewal. The book addresses the issues that address our society today…perhaps will always address them. It’s the eventuality to every one of us. Isolation. Loneliness. Losing our faculties. The Melody addresses the facts, in a slow but deliberate pace…one that is meant to make the reader understand. In that, it is akin to a brilliant piece of classical music.