An equal music by Vikram Seth, is very unusual novel. Story set in London, Venice and Vienna, is about Michael Holme violinist with Maggiore Quartet finding his ('so-called')love, Julia McNicholl who he had lost almost 10year ago.
Book is emotional roller coaster journey of Michael's object of obsession hidden deep in Michael's heart, which appeared to have departed straight from his mouth bypassing his brain.
Michael and Julia falls in love and play together but when Micheal has a nervois breakdown because of stern and very demanding violin teacher he leaves Vienna(and Julia) with warning. After some months & year, he tries to reach Julia and no luck. Ten years still in love with her, he meets her in London when she was attending his concert with his quartet. Still a pianist but Julia is now married to American banker with a child. Also due to her auto-immune disease, she is gradually becoming deaf.
Will past hunting, both begin to meet again, under the dark shadow of her marriag and her tragic hearing losses. Julia agrees for tour of Vienna and Venice with Michael and Maggiore Quartet, during such brief, magical time everything seems to be possible.
The idea that Violin is Michael's true passion over his obsession with Julia, is very interesting plot. thought at the end, he end-up satisfying neither.
Onething stands out in this novel, is that Art/Music/Poetry is as great as deep as truth, as important as love, and can be as redeeming.
This is story with flawed romance but very decent light read to fill your time. Personally I enjoyed and admired the narrative power of Seth's words.