Monday, April 20, 2015

The Maestro, The Magistrate & The Mathematician reviewed on 'pettywitter'


Reviewed by Tracy Terry, 16 April 2015

BACK COVER BLURB: Three very different men struggle with thoughts of belonging, loss, identity and love as they attempt to find a place for themselves in Britain. The Magistrate tries to create new memories and roots, fusing a wandering exploration of Edinburgh with music. The Maestro, a depressed, quixotic character, sinks out of the real world into the fantastic world of literature. The Mathematician, full of youth, follows a carefree, hedonistic lifestyle, until their three universes collide.

FIRST SENTENCE {Edinburgh: The Magistrate}: There was a knock on the door of the last house on Craigmillar Castle Road.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 93}: Chenai walked up to him and hugged him. It was like she was trying to draw poison out of a wound. He almost cried, but men don't cry, real men never cry. He felt the weight of his age pressing down on every joint as he released her. His little girl giving him relationship advice, the wheel of life turning.

MY THOUGHTS: Revolving around three different characters, all from Zimbabwe, all far from their homeland, all facing their own challenges, their individual stories entwining as the novel progresses.

Though set in Edinburgh - its landmarks ingeniously mapped out by the author courtesy of the music played through The Magistrate's Walkman - The Maestro, The Magistrate & The Mathematician also lends itself to an insight into the politics and economics of a not too distant Zimbabwe.

A very human story that isn't afraid to deal with issues both big and small. For me the most memorable (and perhaps poignant) being the case of 'The Magistrate' in which the reader gets to consider a man, a 'somebody' in the land he left behind, reduced to a life of housework and 'menial jobs' in his adopted home.

Amongst the best novels about migrants and the plights that they face that I have read. The only concern I have (small though it may be) being that the characters were each written in a very different style which though great as a means of setting them apart as individuals somehow just didn't work well for me.

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