An Ungrateful InstrumentMichael Meehan
'I want to tell a story. A long but simple story. A tale of long recovery. A tale of love. A tale of lost and found.'
In his remarkable new novel, award-winning Australian author Michael Meehan sensitively explores the links between generational conflict, family, and the creative act.
At its heart An Ungrateful Instrument is a novel that portrays a son's struggle to be more than a mere instrument of the father's ambition. Antoine Forqueray and later his son Jean-Baptiste, were each brought up as child prodigies to the court of Louis XIV. Together, they were said to be the only musicians in France who could play the father's brilliant, eccentric music for the viola da gamba.
In an imaginative masterstroke the story is told by Jean-Baptiste's highly attuned deaf-mute sister, Charlotte-Elisabeth. Threaded throughout, deep in a forest an old man creates the gift of a special viol for the boy, Jean Baptiste.
This is a novel that can almost be heard like music, as it soars in language, theme, and a wisdom that both embodies and transcends its period setting.