The Gustav Sonata - Rose Tremain

Rose Tremain

The Gustav Sonata
2016, 256 pages, UK

This book tells the story of Gustav and Anton. Gustav grows up in the small village of Matzlingen in Switzerland during the Second World War. Gustav’s father died while his son was still very young. Anton meanwhile is from a wealthy Jewish family. Gustav and Anton become friends at kindergarten. Gustav protects Anton and is invited by the family to join them on trips. The boys differ in many ways. Although Anton is pushed by his mother to play the piano and his mother expects him to become a soloist, he will not be able to make a career as a pianist. Gustav grows up with his mother, who has to work hard for a living. He has questions about the death of his father, and about things that happened to his mother. For some time, Anton and Gustav lose sight of each other, but the loose ends ultimately come together. A beautiful novel written in clear and simple language reminiscent of the work of John Boyne.