Thursday, 18 October 2012

Reading Habits: Passenger by Billy Cowie

I'm reading a lot at the moment. I used to be able to read up two novels a day - when I had not much else to do, obviously. Don't want to try that much right now, but a novel every two or three days is feasible. Having started yesterday with one review I may as well review some more, although I don't suppose I'll bother if they aren't worth the effort. This one is:

Passenger by Billie Cowie, published in 2008

Milan is a musician, a violinist in a orchestra. His new relationship with flautist Karen becomes diverted by a passenger, who lives inside him. The extraordinary existence of his conjoined twin is entirely new to Milan. He names her Roma, begins to communicate with her through music and realises she is a sentient and intelligent human being, not just a medical curiosity. The press and the medical professions are fascinated and Milan is tempted to bow to their fascination and to disregard his and Roma's real needs.

The story wastes no words, the writer's musical knowledge enhances without becoming intrusive. Passenger is well written and sympathetic whilst managing to steer well clear of the maudlin. The tragic end is unexpectedly abrupt and moving.

Billie Cowie is an installation artist, choreographer and theatre writer. This accomplished foray into fiction writing is his only published novel so far.

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