Kirsty Gunn has won both the top Fiction and the Book of the Year prizes for her novel The Big Music(M) at the New Zealand Book Awards. Competition judge Paora Tibble, said Gunn’s writing was beautiful and stood out among the 180 books entered into the awards. “Her book just touched you to the next level, it really touched the heart,” he said. “It made me think of the way that music is influenced by landscape. It was quite spiritual.”
“Gunn sets herself what for many would be impossible challenges and then meets every one of them brilliantly – not least making bagpipe compositions sound so musically and intellectually stimulating that all of us are firm converts.” – Judging Panel
Michael Bywater of the Independent Newspaper says this masterly work of fiction illuminates the music, and magic, of the bagpipes.
“The hills only come back the same: I don’t mind …’ begins Kirsty Gunn’s “The Big Music”, a novel that takes us to a new understanding of how fiction can affect us. Presented as a collection of found papers, appendices and notes, “The Big Music” tells the story of John Sutherland of ‘The Grey House’, who is dying and creating in the last days of his life a musical composition that will define it. Yet he has little idea of how his tune will echo or play out into the world – and as the book moves inevitably through its themes of death and birth, change and stasis, the sound of his solitary story comes to merge and connect with those around him. In this work of fiction, Kirsty Gunn has created something as real as music or as a dream. Not so much a novel as a place the reader comes to inhabit and to know, “The Big Music” is a literary work of undeniable originality and power.” – publisher
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