An Equal Music22 Nov 2016
Re-reading a novel is a rare thing for me. When I was young, before I was a book lover, I used to re-read the Autobiography of Lee Iococca. I don’t know why. It was just a book my mom picked up at some book sale once, to use as filler on an empty book shelf at home. I picked it up and became fascinated by this old white man who invented the modern minivan, saved Chrysler, and captured the country’s attention in the mid-80s. We didn’t have many other books in the house (except a tattered copy of Norman Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead, which I didn’t dare read because it had the word “naked” on the cover), so I re-read Iococca a couple of times a year.
Since then, I can’t remember re-reading a book. But I picked up An Equal Music again, off my bookshelf, earlier this month. The reason, unclear at the time but clearer now in hindsight, is because I saw a movie called Blue Jay recently and it really resonated with me. It reminded me of an old high school relationship. It evoked similar feelings as when I first read this book.
The relationship between Michael and Julia, and the masterful writing about classical music, come together wonderfully in this book. Vikram Seth’s writing and evocation of emotion is the most attractive part of this book for me. The plot, alone, is nothing remarkable or ground-breaking. But the way it is carried out through these characters and writing elevates this book from another romantic drama into something greater.
Kicked off by Blue Jay and rounded out by this re-read, I enjoyed this jaunt down memory lane, reconnecting with nostalgic romanticism from my past. In a time marked by upheavel and feeling unmoored because of cultural and political change, it was nice to reconnect with these old feelings.