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Reviews

  • How to uncover from biographical details the mystery that is music? With precision, heart-breaking beauty and lyric insight, Ruth Padel performs a miracle: Beethoven comes alive before us, the son of a drunk, who became a genius, and lost everything, and found his way back to the center. And here we are, following Padel's own genius for composing the music of a story via lyrical means. You will find your heart shored up / by meeting the trapped brilliance of his eyes, she writes. Indeed

    Ilya Kaminsky, author of Deaf Republic
  • Vividly beautiful

    BBC
  • Poetry, biography, music and memoir collide in this wonderful collection from Ruth Padel... A tender and evocative portrait of the man and his music, and most of all the profound ways it affects listeners and performers

    Tatler
  • Padel's imagery and imagination took me deeper into Beethoven than many biographies I've read... Padel knows her history. But a poet is free to inhabit her subject and elaborate on the record

    Anthony Tommasini, New York Times
  • What a wonderful and unusual idea. Ruth Padel writes with true passion; her love for, and understanding of, the man and his music shine through each poem

    Steven Isserlis, cellist
  • Beethoven’s music encompasses the entire blinding spectrum of human thought and emotion, from violent to ethereal, from chaos to sublimity. Ruth Padel’s poems encompass that uncontainable spirit to an astounding degree, and preserve the primal shock of our first hearing

    Alex Ross, author of The Rest is Noise, music critic of the New Yorker
  • Breathtaking

    Paul Griffiths, Times Literary Supplement

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