The Bellwether Revivals: A Novel by Benjamin Wood, Audiobook (CD) | Barnes & Noble
The Bellwether Revivals

The Bellwether Revivals

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by Benjamin Wood, Ralph Lister
     
 

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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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Twenty-year-old Oscar Lowe is a nursing home care worker, good-hearted, and impressionable. When he meets the well-heeled, sophisticated Bellwether siblings at Cambridge University's King College, he falls deeply under their spell. He becomes romantically enthralled with medical student Iris, but it is his dangerous submersion into the mental life of her brother that puts him in jeopardy. Eden Bellwether's obsession with the healing powers of music exposes all who trust him to the depths of his insanity. A novel that evokes parallels to Brideshead Revisited.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781469215938
Publisher:
Brilliance Audio
Publication date:
05/28/2013
Edition description:
Unabridged
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 6.30(h) x 1.10(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“Previous authors have explored the proximity of genius to madness, but Wood treats this familiar theme with a freshness and intelligence that hint at greater things to come.”
—TLS
 
“There’s more than a hint of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History about this novel, with Cambridge taking the place of Vermont… highly effective.”
The Daily Mail (UK)
 
“The novel … has as its lodestone Brideshead Revisited … a timely examination of the conflict between religion and scepticism, a theme explored with more rigor than in this novel’s template. There, we rarely doubt that Waugh is on the side of grace and the supernatural. Donna Tartt’s The Secret History is also in the DNA here, and there are echoes of another literary analysis of the unhealthy emotional bond between a brother and sister, L P Hartley’s Eustace and Hilda.  Does it matter that Wood wears his influences so clearly on his sleeve? Some may find the book reads like a contemporary filigree on its illustrious predecessors, but most readers will find themselves transfixed by this richly drawn cast of characters. The fact that Wood can hold his own in such heavyweight company is a measure of his achievement.”
—Barry Forshaw, The Independent (UK)
 
“Music offers no real cure for sickness, as Oscar slowly and disturbingly discovers.  The bright boy from the sink estate realizes the Cambridge set he’s been sucked into, in an attempt to ensnare beautiful Iris, is racing towards a terrible danger.”
—The Daily Mirror (UK) (Four-star review)
 
“Intense . . . Benjamin Wood’s debut plunges into the heart of privileged Cambridge where musical genius Eden Bellwether is the leader of a coterie of acolytes.  Outsider Oscar—bookish and estranged from his working-class family—falls for Eden’s sister Iris and becomes involved with Eden’s conviction that he can heal the sick with the music of an obscure baroque composer.  Things go wrong when Eden tries to ‘mend’ Iris’s broken leg, and then attempts to cure an author of terminal brain cancer.  As events spiral out of control, the conflicts between madness and reason, religion and blind faith, become dangerously real.”
—Marie Claire (UK)
 
“Students have been in the headlines … will it bring the campus novel back into vogue? With not one but two books featuring students out this month, it certainly seems the case.  Written by graduates and both featuring Oxbridge graduates… The Bellwether Revivals by Benjamin Wood … boasts a 21st century spin on a genre that once upon a time seemed only to celebrate lofty minded or louche toffs.”
—Mariella Frostrup, Open Books BBC Radio 4
 
“Praise be, a brilliant debut novel reminiscent of the moral explorations of Iris Murdoch and Zadie Smith but younger in temperament, more directly passionate and theatrical.”
—Three Guys One Book
 
“Wood moves the reader deftly through pastoral Cambridge, into the British upper crust, and ultimately into the mad mind of Eden himself.”
—Kirkus Reviews
 
“Read it. Quite a debut.”
—Patrick Neate, author of City of Tiny Lights
 
The Bellwether Revivals takes a well-worn format and twists it from the word Go.  Main character from humble background insinuates self into the lives of a bunch of posh people, except that this time it’s different, and it’s crucial to the story that it is … Wood’s stylish, sensual novel really cast a spell on me. A fictional experiment. It worked.”
—Isabel Costello, isabelcostello.wordpress.com

Meet 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 Canadian 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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