by Jennifer Atkins
Jennifer Atkins appears on Granta's Best of Young British Novelists
A piercing meditation on love and music, and the silence and inscrutability which underpins the performance of each
Luc has lived a long time as a soloist. She has not seen Billy for many years. A visit to a major show of his sculptures sends her arrowing back to younger version of herself: to a time when she had to make room to love him when she'd felt no room within herself. To a time when she was forced to make a choice between being one thing or another. To a time when he was a sculptor, but she was not yet a cellist.
In exquisite and crystalline prose, The Cellist explores how you might make room for beauty and mastery for yourself, and still leave space for someone else. It asks what love and companionship costs: what happens when you are forced to cast yourself in the distorting light of another person's needs?