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The Bellwether Revivalsby Benjamin Wood
Synopses & Reviews
A sophisticated debut novel about the hypnotic influence of love, the beguiling allure of money and the haunting power of music
Bright, bookish Oscar Lowe has escaped the squalid urban neighborhood where he was raised and made a new life for himself amid the colleges and spires of Cambridge. He has grown to love the quiet routine of his life as a care assistant at a local nursing home, where he has forged a close friendship with its most ill-tempered resident, Dr. Paulsen.
All that changes one fateful day when Oscar, while wandering the bucolic grounds of Cambridge, is lured into the chapel at Kings College by the otherworldly sound of an organ. It is here that he meets and falls in love with Iris Bellwether, a beautiful and enigmatic medical student. Drawn into the world of scholarship and privilege, Oscar soon becomes embroiled in the strange machinations of Iris’s older brother, Eden.
A charismatic but troubled musical prodigy, Eden convinces his sister and their close-knit circle of friends to participate in a series of disturbing experiments. Eden believe that music—with his expert genius to guide it—can cure people. As the line between genius and madness begins to blur, however, Oscar fears that it is danger and not healing that awaits them all—but it might be too late. . . .
A masterful work of psychological suspense and emotional resonance from a brilliant young talent, The Bellwether Revivals will hold readers spellbound until its breathtaking conclusion.
"This novel begins with the denouement: two people lie dead, and a third sits nearby, barely breathing. After this gripping opener, Wood slows down — way down — to lure readers into the lives of the Bellwethers, a wealthy English family, through Oscar Lowe, a caregiver at a nursing home who is drawn into a chapel by Eden Bellwether's brilliant musicianship. There he meets Eden's sister, Iris, a lovely cellist and student of medicine. He becomes part of the siblings' group of friends, occasional guest at the estate, and boyfriend to Iris. This is no class polemic, but rather an exploration of obsession, denial, and loyalty, explored through Iris's concern over the emotional stability of her brother, who believes that his music can heal. Though Oscar, and then Iris, both experience Eden's beliefs firsthand, Iris persuades Oscar to engage an authority on Narcissistic Personality Disorder, with the hope of diagnosing Eden. As Oscar becomes more involved, Iris's commitment falters, and Eden's erratic behavior — particularly his reaction to his parents' plan to sell the estate and move the family to France — foreshadows inevitable tragedy. Some readers will wish that Wood had written with more energy, but in building both Oscar's character and his story with restraint verging on the austere, he has created a highly engaging debut. Agent: Grainne Fox, Fletcher & Company. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
*Finalist for the Costa First Novel Award*
*Shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize*
From a rising literary star, a thrilling debut novel of psychological suspense set among the colleges of Cambridge
When bright and bookish Oscar Lowe follows the haunting sound of an organ into the chapel of Kings College, Cambridge, one day, his whole world changes. He meets a beautiful and seductive medical student, Iris Bellwether, and her charismatic and troubled brother Eden. Oscar is seduced by their life of scholarship and privilege, but when Eden convinces Iris and her close-knit group of friends to participate in a series of disturbing experiments, Oscar fears he has entered into something from which he cannot escape. Reminiscent of Donna Tartts The Secret History, The Bellwether Revivals is a gripping exploration of the line between genius and madness that will hold readers spellbound until its breathtaking conclusion.
A sophisticated debut novel about a group of friends whose devotion to one among them leads to unimaginable consequences
An assistant at a nursing home, twenty-year-old Oscar Lowe has made a life for himself amid the colleges and spires of Cambridge and yet is a world apart from the privileged students who roam its grounds and study in the hallowed halls. By chance, he meets the wealthy, charismatic Bellwether siblings, Iris and Eden, after the otherworldly sounds of an organ entice him inside the chapel at King’s College.
Oscar falls in love with beautiful, quirky Iris, a medical student, and is drawn into her opulent world. He soon becomes entangled in the strange obsessions of her brilliant but emotionally troubled brother, Eden, who believes he can heal people with his music—and who will stop at nothing to prove himself right. Oscar and Iris devise a plan to determine just how dangerous Eden really is, but it might already be too late to keep him from his next treacherous move.
A masterful work of psychological suspense and emotional resonance sure to appeal to fans of Donna Tartt and Marisha Pessl, The Bellwether Revivals will hold readers spellbound until its breathtaking conclusion.
About the Author
Benjamin Wood was born in 1981 and grew up in northwest England. In 2004, he was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship to attend the MFA Creative Writing Programme at the University of British Columbia, Canada, where he was also the fiction editor of the literary journal PRISM International. Wood is now a lecturer in creative writing at Birkbeck, University of London. The Bellwether Revivals is his first novel.
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