Gustav Perle grows up in a small town in Switzerland, where the horrors of the Second World War seem only a distant echo. An only child, he lives alone with Emilie, the mother he adores but who treats him with bitter severity. He begins an intense friendship with a Jewish boy his age, talented and mercurial Anton Zweibel, a budding concert pianist. Moving backward to the war years and the painful repercussions of an act of conscience, and forward through the lives and careers of two men, The Gustav Sonata explores the passionate love of childhood friendship as it is lost, transformed, and regained over a lifetime. Moving between the 1930s and the 1990s, this fierce and beautifully orchestrated novel explores the vast human issues of racism and tolerance, flight and refuge, cruelty and tenderness. It is a powerful and deeply moving addition to the beloved oeuvre of one of our greatest contemporary novelists.
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