Julian Kersland, a talented but crippled violinist and leader of a baroque ensemble in Glasgow, is the focus of the needs and theories of a diverse range of people. Early on, his school chaplain convinced him that the accident to his leg and the subsequent pain were necessary for the expression of his musical talent. Now, when Julian is in his 30s and wondering where his talent should lead him, both Margaret Gillespie, a solicitor’s wife, and Isobel Hutchinson, a medical student, are intrigued and attracted by his disability and his good looks. Julian, unaware that those around him see the leg rather than the man, is approaching crisis. He becomes obsessed by Isobel, harried by Margaret and tortured by the trauma associated with his talent. But one evening he tells Tom, a Scottish folk-fiddler, the story of his accident. In confronting the truth, he can begin the journey to acceptance.
Ann Lingard’s powerful new work proved to be my favourite book this year … extremely well written. – Helen Peacocke, Oxford Times.