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A novel

Stephen Orr

Dissonance begins with piano practice. Fifteen-year-old Erwin Hergert is forced to tackle scales and studies for six hours a day by his mother, Madge, who is determined to produce Australia's first great pianist. To help Erwin focus, Madge has exiled her husband, Johann, to the back shed. Jo is diagnosed with cancer and Madge allows him back inside, but only for long enough to die.

Madge takes Erwin to Hamburg to continue his studies. Erwin prospers in Germany with his new teacher until he meets a neighbour, sixteen-year-old Luise, and finds there's more to life than music.

Meanwhile, Germany is moving towards war. Late 1930s Hamburg forms the backdrop to an increasingly difficult love-triangle, as Erwin is torn between the piano, Luise, and the demands of his love and devotion to his mother. Soon the bombs, real and imagined, start falling. Marriage and parenthood give way to death, and tragedy. Before long Erwin and Madge are drawn into the horrors of a war that leaves little time for music.

Dissonance is a re-imagining of the 'Frankfurt years' of Rose and Percy Grainger. This is a novel about love in one of its most extreme and destructive forms, and how people attempt to survive the threat of possession.

Sydney Morning Herald Pick of the Week

Praise for Dissonance:
'Compelling ... an engrossing novel. Orr is a vivid storyteller.' - Stella Clarke, Weekend Australian

'Dissonance is a rich, layered and absorbing novel.' - Suzanne Eggins, Canberra Times

'Dissonance fascinates to the end.' - John Paul Newbury, Bonzer

'A compelling fiction of a young man propelled towards musical renown by his ambitious, manipulative, ever-attentive mother.' - Anthony Lynch, Australian Book Review

'Deftly told family drama.' - Cameron Woodhead, Sydney Morning Herald

'Stephen Orr's latest novel is a triumph ... Orr brings us a cast of characters that are wholly believable. The first 100 pages alone would make a fine novella. As it stands, the entire novel is an accomplished work.' - Peter C. Pugsley, Indaily

'Orr's ability to capture the language and proprieties of rural Australia is remarkable. The strongly driven narrative maintains a taught and consistent tone throughout.' - Peter C. Pugsley, Indaily

'Our own Wakefield Press has produced a nicely bound and presented work which ranks as one of the finest pieces of Australian writing I’ve seen for a long time.’ - Peter C. Pugsley, Indaily

'Stephen Orr writes a story with great tension and momentum.' - Fotini Dangiris, Good Reading magazine

'Orr's use of language is superbly modulated. His power of evocation is quite unique and his skillfull use of language enables the reader to access not just place through recall of the senses but also powerful confronting emotions.' - Sue Ballyn, Reviews in Australian Studies

'Dissonance is a gripping exploration of the extremities of love, power struggle and control in an unstable environment, expressed through pleasing prose from Stephen Orr.' - Troy Benson , Transnational Literature

Stephen Orr is an award-winning literary author, and has twice been longlisted for the Miles Franklin. He contributes essays and features to several magazines, journals and newspapers. He lives in Adelaide.

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Format Paperback
Size 210 x 135 mm
ISBN 9781862549456
Extent 416 pages
Price: AU$27.95 including GST
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