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1 Beaverton Literature- A to Z

Charles Jessold, Considered as a Murderer

by

Charles Jessold, Considered as a Murderer Cover

 

Review-A-Day

"Early morning, June 23, 1923, a gunshot wakes the neighbors. The resulting discovery — two persons poisoned, one shot in an apparent murder suicide — shakes not only quiet Kensington but also the musical world. The murderer appears to be Charles Jessold, a gifted English composer. And the scenario, involving his wife and the man who may have been her lover, echoes the plot of his first opera, which has just had its final dress rehearsal." Clea Simon, The Boston Phoenix (Read the entire Boston Phoenix review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

England, 1923. A gentleman critic named Leslie Shepherd tells the macabre story of a gifted young composer, Charles Jessold. On the eve of his revolutionary new opera's premiere, Jessold murders his wife and her lover, and then commits suicide in a scenario that strangely echoes the plot of his opera — which Shepherd has helped to write. The opera will never be performed.

Shepherd first shares his police testimony, then recalls his relationship with Jessold in his role as critic, biographer, and friend. And with each retelling of the story, significant new details cast light on the identity of the real victim in Jessold's tragedy.

This ambitiously intricate novel is set against a turbulent moment in music history, when atonal sounds first reverberated through the concert halls of Europe, just as the continent readied itself for war. What if Jessold's opera was not only a betrayal of Shepherd, but of England as well?

Wesley Stace has crafted a dazzling story of counter-melodies and counter-narratives that will keep you guessing to the end.

Review:

"This intellectually provocative novel from Stace (the pseudonym of musician John Wesley Harding) brings to life the English music world of the first half of the 20th century. Early one June morning in 1923, gifted composer Charles Jessold, after the dress rehearsal of his first opera, Little Musgrave, kills his wife and her lover and commits suicide at his London home. The murders echo the plot of Jessold's years-in-the-making opera as well as the life and work of Carlo Gesualdo, a 16th-century Italian composer. Instead of revolutionalizing English music, Little Musgrave is canceled. Wealthy music critic Leslie Shepherd, who considered himself Jessold's mentor, wrote the opera's libretto, but his frustration over Jessold's procrastination and arrogance led to their estrangement. Twenty-two years later, Shepherd reveals startling new details that put a different, more chilling perspective on the tragedy. Stace (Misfortune) succinctly explores obsession and the relationship between art and life in this satisfying historical. Author tour. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)

Review:

"Nabokovian cunning distinguishes this energetic third novel....Stace's versatility makes this one just about irresistible." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

Review:

"A virtue of this highly enjoyable diversion is Stace's sensitivity to tone: he captures the way aesthetes wrote and talked in the giddy early 1920s, when feyness and wit were all....This clever, entertaining novel will appeal to music and opera buffs and literary-historical fiction fans." Library Journal

Review:

"A tremendously imaginative novel that's really several novels in one, for beneath its sparkling surface there are some very murky depths. A wonderfully disquieting read." Sarah Waters, author of The Little Stranger

Review:

"[Stace's] twisty plot of jealousy and murder unfolds with Nabokovian precision during Britain's early twentieth-century folk and early music revival." The Financial Times (UK)

Review:

"Recalls one of the greatest and saddest novels of the period, Ford Madox Ford's The Good Soldier, and follows the tradition of great novels of imaginary music." The Times Literary Supplement (UK)

Synopsis:

Set in 1923 England, this ambitiously intricate novel tells the macabre story of a gifted young composer, Charles Jessold, who on the eve of his revolutionary new opera's premiere murders his wife and her lover, then commits suicide in a scenario that echoes the plot of his opera.

Synopsis:

One of The Wall Street Journal's Best fiction books of 2011

England, 1923. A gentleman critic named Leslie Shepherd tells the macabre story of a gifted young composer, Charles Jessold. On the eve of his revolutionary new operas premiere, Jessold murders his wife and her lover, and then commits suicide in a scenario that strangely echoes the plot of his opera---which Shepherd has helped to write. The opera will never be performed.

Shepherd first shares his police testimony, then recalls his relationship with Jessold in his role as critic, biographer, and friend. And with each retelling of the story, significant new details cast light on the identity of the real victim in Jessolds tragedy.

This ambitiously intricate novel is set against a turbulent moment in music history, when atonal sounds first reverberated through the concert halls of Europe, just as the continent readied itself for war. What if Jessolds opera was not only a betrayal of Shepherd, but of England as well?

Wesley Stace has crafted a dazzling story of counter-melodies and counter-narratives that will keep you guessing to the end.

Video

About the Author

Educated at Cambridge, Wesley Stace (also known as John Wesley Harding) cut short his Ph.D. studies to pursue a music career. He has released 8 solo albums and toured as the opening act for The Mighty Lemon Drops, Michelle Shocked, and Bruce Springsteen. His previous novels are By George and Misfortune. He lives in Brooklyn.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780312680107
Author:
Stace, Wesley
Publisher:
Picador USA
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Publication Date:
20110231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
400
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.50 in

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Charles Jessold, Considered as a Murderer Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$4.95 In Stock
Product details 400 pages Picador USA - English 9780312680107 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "This intellectually provocative novel from Stace (the pseudonym of musician John Wesley Harding) brings to life the English music world of the first half of the 20th century. Early one June morning in 1923, gifted composer Charles Jessold, after the dress rehearsal of his first opera, Little Musgrave, kills his wife and her lover and commits suicide at his London home. The murders echo the plot of Jessold's years-in-the-making opera as well as the life and work of Carlo Gesualdo, a 16th-century Italian composer. Instead of revolutionalizing English music, Little Musgrave is canceled. Wealthy music critic Leslie Shepherd, who considered himself Jessold's mentor, wrote the opera's libretto, but his frustration over Jessold's procrastination and arrogance led to their estrangement. Twenty-two years later, Shepherd reveals startling new details that put a different, more chilling perspective on the tragedy. Stace (Misfortune) succinctly explores obsession and the relationship between art and life in this satisfying historical. Author tour. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"Review A Day" by , "Early morning, June 23, 1923, a gunshot wakes the neighbors. The resulting discovery — two persons poisoned, one shot in an apparent murder suicide — shakes not only quiet Kensington but also the musical world. The murderer appears to be Charles Jessold, a gifted English composer. And the scenario, involving his wife and the man who may have been her lover, echoes the plot of his first opera, which has just had its final dress rehearsal." (Read the entire Boston Phoenix review)
"Review" by , "Nabokovian cunning distinguishes this energetic third novel....Stace's versatility makes this one just about irresistible."
"Review" by , "A virtue of this highly enjoyable diversion is Stace's sensitivity to tone: he captures the way aesthetes wrote and talked in the giddy early 1920s, when feyness and wit were all....This clever, entertaining novel will appeal to music and opera buffs and literary-historical fiction fans."
"Review" by , "A tremendously imaginative novel that's really several novels in one, for beneath its sparkling surface there are some very murky depths. A wonderfully disquieting read."
"Review" by , "[Stace's] twisty plot of jealousy and murder unfolds with Nabokovian precision during Britain's early twentieth-century folk and early music revival."
"Review" by , "Recalls one of the greatest and saddest novels of the period, Ford Madox Ford's The Good Soldier, and follows the tradition of great novels of imaginary music."
"Synopsis" by , Set in 1923 England, this ambitiously intricate novel tells the macabre story of a gifted young composer, Charles Jessold, who on the eve of his revolutionary new opera's premiere murders his wife and her lover, then commits suicide in a scenario that echoes the plot of his opera.
"Synopsis" by ,

One of The Wall Street Journal's Best fiction books of 2011

England, 1923. A gentleman critic named Leslie Shepherd tells the macabre story of a gifted young composer, Charles Jessold. On the eve of his revolutionary new operas premiere, Jessold murders his wife and her lover, and then commits suicide in a scenario that strangely echoes the plot of his opera---which Shepherd has helped to write. The opera will never be performed.

Shepherd first shares his police testimony, then recalls his relationship with Jessold in his role as critic, biographer, and friend. And with each retelling of the story, significant new details cast light on the identity of the real victim in Jessolds tragedy.

This ambitiously intricate novel is set against a turbulent moment in music history, when atonal sounds first reverberated through the concert halls of Europe, just as the continent readied itself for war. What if Jessolds opera was not only a betrayal of Shepherd, but of England as well?

Wesley Stace has crafted a dazzling story of counter-melodies and counter-narratives that will keep you guessing to the end.

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