Now I get why people go on about music – The Song Collector by Natasha Solomons

Book Reviews, Book Thoughts


Fox collects folk songs. He hears the music in his head; the songs of the land he lives in, the way it interacts with the world around him. As a young man, the pull of music lures him away from the family estate he and his brothers are trying to save – that and his love for his brother’s wife Edie. As an old man and successful composer, desperately grieving the wife he has lost, Fox discovers his grandson’s immense musical talent. His involvement in his grandson’s life opens the way for him to move forward and even seek forgiveness.

I really loved this book. For me, the best thing was having a real insight into the brain of someone who really, really loves music. I like music, but for me it doesn’t make sense how people react to music as I would to a fantastic book, just like they would be flummoxed at my love of language. But like nothing I’ve read before this opens up the fixation, need and delight in music. But there was so much more to it than that!

The portrayal of family at all it’s different stages was convincing, and often tragic. Young Fox is totally different to his easily popular eldest brother and his nature-loving middle brother; and the three of their attempts to work together, to deal with their distant and dismissive father and cope with shared love for Edie are heart rending.

Similarly when he is old, Fox struggles to know how to relate to his daughters and grandchildren, but as music and his grandson opens his heart again he manages to come more meaningfully into their lives.

The love story, too, is touching. We largely see the beginning and the end of it; whereas the rest is remembered occasionally and referred to, but

Fox’s character, whose eyes we see everything through, is both a real young man and a convincing old man, yet undeniably the same person throughout. His growth and development are charming

The trope of trying to save an old country house was not too overdone here; it was a contributing factor rather than a main focus, which I am glad of. I wonder whether we could have any books about it being marvellous that a country home is being sold? It can’t all be bad news after all.

All in all this was an enchanting tale, bringing together love, family, music in a stunning symphony. Definitely recommended!

Thanks so much to Sceptre who sent me this book to review, which in no way affects my opinions.

4 thoughts on “Now I get why people go on about music – The Song Collector by Natasha Solomons

  1. Sounds like a good book if it managed to make you see things a bit differently! I’m the same as you, I like music, but it’s really a pleasant background noise to me.

  2. Ooh, this sounds absolutely wonderful! I recognised the author – I read Mr Rosenblum’s List a few summers back and thoroughly enjoyed it – and seeing it was about music, I had to know more. Your review makes the book sound so compelling that I’m quite sure I’ll love it. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on it!

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