*A RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK*
‘Utterly enthralling – a beautifully-written voyage of discovery that takes us deep into the heart of music-making’ Deborah Moggach
From the moment she hears Lev’s violin for the first time, Helena Attlee is captivated. She is told that it is an Italian instrument, named after its former Russian owner. Eager to discover all she can about its ancestry and the stories contained within its delicate wooden body, she sets out for Cremona, birthplace of the Italian violin. This is the beginning of a beguiling journey whose end she could never have anticipated.
Making its way from dusty workshops, through Alpine forests, cool Venetian churches, glittering Florentine courts, and far-flung Russian flea markets, Lev’s Violin takes us from the heart of Italian culture to its very furthest reaches. Its story of luthiers and scientists, princes and orphans, musicians, composers, travellers and raconteurs swells to a poignant meditation on the power of objects, stories and music to shape individual lives and to craft entire cultures.
Utterly enthralling - a beautifully-written voyage of discovery that takes us deep into the heart of music-making. -- Deborah Moggach, author of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel A beguiling quest that draws its author from the Italian heartland of the violin to the edge of Asiatic Russia, told with a passion that is at once gentle and compelling. -- Colin Thubron, author of To a Mountain in Tibet In limpid, searching prose, Helena Attlee shows us how music can cast spells but also bridge the distance of centuries. -- Marina Benjamin, author of The Middlepause Charming and original ... Attlee has the natural storyteller's gift. -- Stephen Walsh, author of Debussy Reading Lev's Violin is like listening to a fine instrument: thoroughly relaxing but also exciting, fun yet deeply serious ... with constant surprises and charms -- Tobias Jones, author of The Dark Heart of Italy
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