The music of everyday life, Briony Hill
The Chimes by Anna Smaill is an intoxicating novel that can definitely be considered challenging to put down. Often it can be difficult to be immersed into an author’s fictional created era of time, however, Smaill displays her capability of producing transfixing imagery, allowing the reader to view the world she has created in the novel.
Smaill sets her story throughout places in England, in a time when reading and writing is no longer done in words, but in music. Smaill has stuck true to the theme of music throughout the whole novel by including the use of musical language and terms, for example, using the word “subito” instead of suddenly, and using the word “presto” instead of fast or quickly, creating a different yet unique and admirable use of language for the readers to indulge in.
By using a specific example from the novel to illustrate the point, the reviewer has strengthened the argument and added interest for the reader.
Editor’s note: Close
Smaill writes her novel from the point of view of one of her main characters, Simon, allowing the reader to gain a sense of connection with the slightly mysterious, yet highly interesting, character. The use of illustrating memories throughout the novel assists in allowing past stories of characters to be portrayed, helping the reader feel connected to some of the characters, learn more about the characters, and perhaps uncover why they are who they are and why they act the way they do. The main characters, Simon and Lucien, are a couple one cannot help to admire with their differences and familiarities. Smaill displays their relationship in a way where it does not take away a majority of the main idea from the novel, keeping the story line on track with a little extra gay male romance along the way. The use of a gay male relationship is like a breath of fresh air, a nice change from the common male and female romances in novels.
The plot in The Chimes starts off rather confusing and mysterious, not only for the reader, but also for the main character Simon, although Smaill has created this effect with the purpose of emphasising a major point in the novel. However, the story gradually comes together in a way that allows the reader to gain an understanding, but also portrays the characters’ new understanding, creating a brilliant and exciting story-line to follow. With the strong use of descriptive similes and metaphors, Smaill delivers a vast world of imagery to the readers, transporting their minds into the musical story world she has created beautifully.
Smaill writes in a slightly classical style, creating an addicting contrast with the use of classical language in a story set in future times. While including unexpected plot twists throughout the novel, the reader is never bored throughout the story, constantly supplying excitement and desire to keep reading. One may learn from this novel an interest for music they never knew they had, or simply new musical terms. Smaill portrays music in a way where it can be viewed as a gorgeous art that has the possibility to affect the everyday lives of people. The Chimes is a truly successful first novel for Anna Smaill, congratulations to her. I highly recommend this new favoured book of mine, it is a remarkable story.
Briony Hill is year 12 at Otumoetai College, Tauranga.
February, 2016 jane Scroll down to see reviews submitted by YA readers: The Chimes