The Music Shop

The Music Shop

It is 1988. On a dead-end street in a run-down suburb there is a music shop that stands small and brightly lit, jam-packed with records of every kind. Like a beacon, the shop attracts the lonely, the sleepless, and the adrift; Frank, the shop's owner, has a way of connecting his customers with just the piece of music they need. Then, one day, into his shop comes a beautifu...

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Title:The Music Shop
Author:Rachel Joyce
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The Music Shop Reviews

  • Miriam Smith

    What a delightful and enjoyable read "The Music Shop" by Rachel Joyce is!

    It doesn't demand constant attention or keep you awake at night, it's just a lovely nostalgic story that makes you feel so happy when reading it, it's almost like you're floating through the pages (though the ending did have me in emotional goosebumps).

    "The Music Shop" is a very character driven novel. Set in 1988 the story is about Frank who owns a music shop selling only vinyl records - don't mention Cd's!! He knows eve

    What a delightful and enjoyable read "The Music Shop" by Rachel Joyce is!

    It doesn't demand constant attention or keep you awake at night, it's just a lovely nostalgic story that makes you feel so happy when reading it, it's almost like you're floating through the pages (though the ending did have me in emotional goosebumps).

    "The Music Shop" is a very character driven novel. Set in 1988 the story is about Frank who owns a music shop selling only vinyl records - don't mention Cd's!! He knows everything about music and always finds the right album the customers need. One day a mysterious woman walks into his life - German Ilse Brauchmann - and from then on everything in his world changes.

    There's some really wonderful characters in this fabulous story from the main protagonist Frank (everyone needs a Frank in their life) to Maud a tattooist who says so little but expresses so much. I loved the developing relationship between Frank and Ilse and with Kit the endearing naive shop assistant added into the mix, things don't always go to plan.

    There's such a lovely community feel to Unity Street where the shop is located, with its multicultural residents and shop keepers living their simple and uncomplicated lives, where every event or change in routine is picked over and analysed in such a humorous and light hearted way. Customers would go into Frank's shop lost and come out found, having discovered the right music for their troubles and feeling healed.

    I really enjoyed reading this book, there's nothing to not like about it - without a doubt it's made me feel differently about music and I will certainly be listening to it in a completely new way from now on.

    Rachel Joyce is a very talented and established author and I look forward to reading more books by her.

    5 stars!

  • Cheri

    !! NOW AVAILABLE !!

    4.5 Stars

    The shop was difficult to navigate with boxes packed in everywhere one looked; every nook and cranny had records, although none were classified. There were two booths for listening with turntables

    !! NOW AVAILABLE !!

    4.5 Stars

    The shop was difficult to navigate with boxes packed in everywhere one looked; every nook and cranny had records, although none were classified. There were two booths for listening with turntables in between. And Frank, as much of a fixture as the records, felt it was best to keep the shop open late into the evening for those passing by in need of music.

    You could find what you needed, as long as it was on vinyl. And if you didn’t know what you wanted or needed, Frank could always tell exactly what you did need. Stacks of classical, rock, blues, jazz, punk, heavy metal, he carried it all – as long as it was on vinyl.

    In 1974, the year Frank bought his shop, Britain was beginning a recession that year, but he didn’t want to quibble over the asking price, and so he bought this place, despite the stench, despite the condition it was in, despite the crumbling masonry falling now and then.

    He began to tackle the things that needed tackling right away. Slowly, he began to make repairs, plastering walls, repairing pipes, fixing the roof, and replacing the windows. People begin to pop into the shop just to see how it’s coming along, and he begins to know his neighbors better. Word spreads about his shop, and slowly, over time, he builds up a somewhat regular clientele. His customers are amazed that he always seems to know just the right music for them.

    His mother had told him when he was six.

    Why? He questioned her.

    By the time his shop is up and running, music has changed. Moved beyond vinyl to 8-track tapes, then cassette tapes, and then, by 1988, came CDs. Shiny, eye-catching and new. But Frank remains steadfast in his determination to keep in the old and blocking the way for those new, shiny objects. In this neighborhood, it feels as though time has marched on, but time seems to have forgotten this neighborhood, these people.

    Throughout this story are many quirky and endearing characters, but there is one character that really stands out from the rest: Ilse, a young woman who may wear her heart on her sleeve, but that sleeve is made of amour. He first meets her when she faints just outside the door to the music shop. A new person in this neighborhood is worthy of notice, but there’s something about her that sets her apart from them. It’s not just the clothes or the gloves that she wears, it’s not her green coat, or her German accent that sneaks through when she speaks, and she’s just a bit of an enigma. And that difference is something they all seem to find intriguing.

    There are a host of other characters, Father Anthony, Maud, and Kit, with the occasional glance back in time to Frank’s memories of his mother, Peg. Each character is uniquely charming, even grumpy Maud. There are also those that wander into the shop as a break in their day of wandering the streets.

    There is a considerable amount of conversation about music, which should be obvious since it is a book that is based on the comings and goings of people in a music shop, but the range of eras and genres of music is fairly eclectic. I loved this, the discussions which were less about music than about the feelings evoked, what the artist was trying to say, to convey to those listening.

    The description of this book says that it is “a love story and a journey through music,” however there are many different kinds of love stories, as many as there are different songs, and this story deals with more than one way that love is shared. I would say that this is a love story / song to music, and the ability that both music and words have of breaking, and healing, our hearts.

    In a very basic sense, there’s an essence to

    which charmed me as much as her

    which I loved. There’s a raw, but not overly sentimental charm to these characters, as well as an emotional journey over time, as well. Like Harold’s followers, you’ll be cheering these characters on in their journeys.

    Pub Date: 02 Jan 2018

    Many thanks for the ARC provided by Random House Publishing Group / Random House

  • Amalia Gavea

    The blurb of this beautiful book contained two words that won me over on the spot. ‘’Music’’ and ‘’1980s’’. I was born in 1985, so technically, I am a child of the 90s, but I think that these two decades share the same spirit of a certain kind of innocence, before the coming of the new millennium and all the ‘’gifts’’ it brought (yeah, right…) I’m not a big fan of the music that conquered the 8

    The blurb of this beautiful book contained two words that won me over on the spot. ‘’Music’’ and ‘’1980s’’. I was born in 1985, so technically, I am a child of the 90s, but I think that these two decades share the same spirit of a certain kind of innocence, before the coming of the new millennium and all the ‘’gifts’’ it brought (yeah, right…) I’m not a big fan of the music that conquered the 80s, but when I happen to listen to a chart-hit of the era, I travel back to my childhood and the parties when we were 9-10 years old.

    Joyce pays homage to the beauty of the vinyls, the nostalgia that is connected with them, before the shiny CDs took over. Personally, I never liked cassettes, although God knows we had more than we could count. In this story, we find ourselves in London, during the last years of the 80s and in a music shop that sells vinyls exclusively. Frank, the owner, is surrounded by a quirky set of characters who aid him in his struggle to keep the spirit of the neighbourhood alive against modernity. One day, a lovely young woman, wearing a green coat and with her hands hidden in gloves, faints right outside his shop. And his life begins to change.

    Now, the blurb may make us think that this is going to be a light, carefree read. Essentially, a romance. It isn’t. Not entirely, at least. And most definitely, it is not a romance. It is a story that contains a heart-warming, tender, well-constructed relationship, but to call it a ‘’’romance’’ wouldn’t do it justice. In my opinion, this is Contemporary Quirky Fiction at its best. (...I just made up a genre in order to justify my silly definition, but anway…) Each character, from Frank to Ilse, to the various customers who have been helped by him, is integral to the story. There are personal stories of sadness and pain, of hope and joy and remembrance, people trying to soothe their wounds and keep the memories alive through music. This is what Frank regards as his mission.

    The characters of Frank and Ilse are the best example of how an author can create a romantic relationship that will touch even the sworn enemies of anything romance-related (...that is moi…) Frank is loyal to his job, somewhat a loner in the extreme, and perhaps a bit too empathetic and stuck to the past. A realistic protagonist that you wish you had as your friend back in that day. Ilse is sensitive, bright, kind and with a heavy dose of mystery trailing behind her.Initially, I thought there would have been an element of magical realism in her, that’s how ethereal and mysterious she seemed. Father Anthony (loved him to piece, he is everything a priest is supposed to be), Kit and Maud consist Frank’s ‘’gang’’ and they are as sympathetic and weird as you can get. Maud wasn’t much to my liking, I didn’t have any sympathy for her attitude, but to each their own…I am a bit of a potty-mouth myself, but she seemed to be continually disrespectful

    Joyce writes in a manner that is immediate, fresh and lyrical at the same time. She provides a treat for every lover of music. At the mention of every composer, every singer, every band, I could hear the notes partying (or waltzing or praying) in my head. I was reminded of all the extraordinary music creations the human mind has conceived. Even the quality pop-rock of the 1980s and the 90s...So it triggers a major level of nostalgia for an era when a singer didn't have to appear on stage, dressed only in the underwear or in a meat-dress in order to become famous or to make up for the lack of any talent. I give extra points for the reference to

    , my favourite hymn to the Virgin Mary. Also bonus points for what I consider the most beautiful piece to come from Iceland,

    .

    For me, the major question of the novel has to do with the strength of our principles. Frank refuses to go with the flow, if it means betraying his ideals and all he is living for.Why should modern times demand of someone to become an altogether different person? Why should we offend what we don’t agree with and look down on those we consider ‘’old school’’? This is very relevant in our current times with politics, religion, society in general. Some of us stick to certain values. If others consider it ‘’Ancient History’’ that’s all very well, but respecting different opinions should be a bidirectional thing. So, as you see, this book definitely gives you plenty to think about.

    This is a book that will appeal to practically everyone. The music lovers, the fans of the 80s, the followers of the vinyls, the Londonphiles, the readers who wish for a contemporary read with something to say and themes we can all relate to. I even forgave the somewhat ‘’cheesy’’ ending:)

    Many thanks to Random House and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  • PattyMacDotComma

    4.5★

    Frank is a rumpled older fellow with a large, eclectic collection of vinyl records in a rundown shop in a rundown little side-street in a rundown part of London, which developers are eyeing for new housing.

    Kit is the clumsy kid he’s taken under his wing to help out in the shop (when he isn’t breaking things), and there ae various side characters who also

    4.5★

    Frank is a rumpled older fellow with a large, eclectic collection of vinyl records in a rundown shop in a rundown little side-street in a rundown part of London, which developers are eyeing for new housing.

    Kit is the clumsy kid he’s taken under his wing to help out in the shop (when he isn’t breaking things), and there ae various side characters who also do business in the street: undertaker, tattooist, you get the idea. There are some people who have lived there for years, and there are some cheap rooms to let. It's a neighbourhood. Yes, it's run-down. Yes the buildings are crumbling. But yes, these people need each other and their homes.

    Frank’s shelves are arranged in such a way that only he knows where anything is. He sorts his records by putting like with like. The thing is, only Frank know why one piece of music belongs with another, a symphony with an Aretha Franklin along with Johnny Cash or someone.

    Frank ‘reads’ people. He doesn’t know how, but he listens, truly listens when they tell him why they’re looking for music – a breakup, a celebration, a moment of reflection. They don’t know what they’re looking for, but Frank does. He might hand them a concerto and a pop song, send them into one of his listening booths (converted wardrobes) and watch their faces light up when they hear their just-right selections.

    This reminds me of

    , with its peculiar collection of books and odd customers, but this is a unique story about some very particular music. We are given snippets of Frank’s growing up with his self-absorbed mother, Peg, a musical genius (in her way). He always call his mother by name.

    She loves Beethoven, Handel, Miles Davis. Frank says she crashes through the boundaries like jazz musicians do. She told him

    Peg’s musical influence obviously soaked deeply into him, and it’s all very well that Frank loves the shop and people love Frank, but it doesn’t pay the bills. Is he doing all right?

    When the mysterious, lovely German, Ilse Brauchmann wanders in, everything changes.

    I think some readers have made lists of all the music mentioned, and I can see why. I didn't, but I will have to go listen to Miles Davis though. Here’s why.

    Good enough for me! (And to think I was going to give away all of our old vinyl – yikes!)

    Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House for the preview copy from which I’ve quoted (so quotes may change).

  • Paromjit

    This is a wonderful novel set in the late 1980s London, that evokes the culture and music of the era, and the economic decline hitting local communities and the ever encroachment of developers threatening the identity of a place, and its people. In the midst of the change taking place is Frank, running his Indie Music Shop, welcoming everyone and drawing an offbeat crowd. The CD has taken off, but Frank is not interested, preferring vinyl, in which there is a current resurgence. Amidst the growi

    This is a wonderful novel set in the late 1980s London, that evokes the culture and music of the era, and the economic decline hitting local communities and the ever encroachment of developers threatening the identity of a place, and its people. In the midst of the change taking place is Frank, running his Indie Music Shop, welcoming everyone and drawing an offbeat crowd. The CD has taken off, but Frank is not interested, preferring vinyl, in which there is a current resurgence. Amidst the growing closure of local businesses, Frank stands by the strength of his convictions, an idealist in Thatcher's Britain that is geared to crushing idealism with its gods of ruthless capitalism and grasping consumerism. Frank is a kind and compassionate man, with a magical gift of honing into the piece of music his customers need, rather than what they may be wanting.

    German Ilse Brauchmann faints outside Frank's shop, she is destined to rock Frank's world. Ilse is a woman with secrets, getting married, dresses in green and is never to be seen without her gloves. We get a real sense of community as a raft of stories are unveiled about those who visit the store such as the bank manager, that include loss and other troubles that music helps and resolves, all thanks to Frank. Ilse's entry into Frank's life brings back his memories of Peg, his eccentric mother responsible for initiating and informing his unsurpassed musical knowledge. His problematic relationship with Peg haunts him. Frank gives music lessons to Ilse in a cafe, with a waitress that becomes invested in the blossoming love affair between the couple. Frank struggles to express his feelings to Ilse, which is ironic given how effectively Frank tunes into the feelings of others. This is a tale inhabited with a wide array of quirky characters, Maude the tattooist, Father Anthony, Kit and others, that charm and beguile. Frank and Ilse's relationship founders, years pass until Ilse returns to a changed landscape and people. Is it possible that love can be resurrected against all the odds with the power of music?

    Rachel Joyce writes a love letter to all that music can be in this lovely novel. It is a story of loss, love, pain, friendship, and community solidarity. A community that tries to support Frank, after he has helped them despite the wrecking ball to community support that are the developers in London. Above all else, it is about the healing power of music, its capacity to unite, ease trauma, evoke and access memories, inspire and help address our deepest needs. It forces Frank to connect with his past and with his feelings. It highlights how music is nothing without the silences, which have a power of their own. Joyce has a knack for creating a range of characters which cannot fail to engage the reader. Additionally, the book is bound to serve as an education in music to many readers from the classical composers, to Aretha, and to the inimitable Sex Pistols and so much more. An engaging and entertaining book. Thanks to Random House Transworld for an ARC.

  • Phrynne

    This is one of those books where I want to use the phrase "I liked it but I didn't love it." In other words it was nice but not as good as I had hoped.

    still remains my favourite book by this author by far.

    I liked the setting in the run down music shop in an even more run down area of town. I really liked the time period and I enjoyed several of the characters especially Frank himself and the accident prone Kit. It was unfortunate that I also liked the Sing

    This is one of those books where I want to use the phrase "I liked it but I didn't love it." In other words it was nice but not as good as I had hoped.

    still remains my favourite book by this author by far.

    I liked the setting in the run down music shop in an even more run down area of town. I really liked the time period and I enjoyed several of the characters especially Frank himself and the accident prone Kit. It was unfortunate that I also liked the Singing Teapot waitress more than I did Ilse who I never actually warmed to. The author gets lots of points for her ability to write quirky characters without slipping into stereotypes.

    This is not a romance by any stretch of the imagination, but the love story is there and is very poignant. A few tears, or at least wet eyes, at the end. There is lots and lots about music and many references, some to pieces or songs I don't know and others I do. I listened to a few online and did not always understand why Frank found them appropriate but then that was his skill not mine!

    Overall a nice contemporary novel with a great cast of characters, well written and enjoyable to read.

  • Heather 'Bookables'

    4 stars

    Overall a very heartwarming, beautiful story about friendship, love & a neighborhood full of amazing shop owners. If your a big music fan, this book is for you.

    The whole book centers around a vinyl record store and the owner loves music and often reflects on some of his favorite bands and memories associated with music.

  • Esil

    Barely 3 stars. So dull... I loved Rachel Joyce's

    and

    . She has a talent for delving into deep emotions through quirky characters. The Music Shop set off to do the same, but unfortunately I didn't feel like it delivered. In the 1980s, Frank runs a small vinyl record shop. He is huge and sensitive. He has a knack for connecting people with music that soothes their troubled souls. Visitors to the shop adore him. But vinyl

    Barely 3 stars. So dull... I loved Rachel Joyce's

    and

    . She has a talent for delving into deep emotions through quirky characters. The Music Shop set off to do the same, but unfortunately I didn't feel like it delivered. In the 1980s, Frank runs a small vinyl record shop. He is huge and sensitive. He has a knack for connecting people with music that soothes their troubled souls. Visitors to the shop adore him. But vinyl is going down the tubes and Frank refuses to get with the times and sell cds. A few other misfits form part of the ensemble, including distressed Ilse, with whom Frank seems to be engaged in a push me pull you awkward tangle. And I won't say more to avoid spoilers but it's not hard to guess where this one ends up heading. Maybe I'm just being grumpy, but unlike her previous books, this time it felt like Joyce's characters were missing emotional depth or originality. I'm not going to give up on her yet, but I hope she gets back in her game next time round. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy.

  • Liz

    It’s 1988 and Frank sells vinyl records on a small street in a depressed part of town. He refuses to sell CDs even when the distributors all threaten to drop him. He loves music and is able to match a person with the music they need. What he doesn’t think he needs is love.

    There’s a dry wit to the book. The characters are a group of misfits and oddballs and there’s humor in their dialog and activities. It’s also a well written book. A book that makes you think. When Peg discusses how music is ab

    It’s 1988 and Frank sells vinyl records on a small street in a depressed part of town. He refuses to sell CDs even when the distributors all threaten to drop him. He loves music and is able to match a person with the music they need. What he doesn’t think he needs is love.

    There’s a dry wit to the book. The characters are a group of misfits and oddballs and there’s humor in their dialog and activities. It’s also a well written book. A book that makes you think. When Peg discusses how music is about silence, you just get it. “And of course, the silence at the beginning of a piece of music is always different from the silence at the end.” “Why Peg?” “Because if you listen, the world changes. It’s like falling in love. Only no one gets hurt.”

    Joyce manages to really get the time and place. The atmosphere- the grafffiti, the developers trying to buy up the properties, the falling down condition of the properties, is as much a character as Frank, Ilse or Kit.

    Unfortunately, the book is not consistently interesting. It goes through numerous dry patches where nothing happens. Just when I would begin to think I should stop reading, it would get better and I would decide to stick with it. The memories of Peg talking about music were my favorites. An interest in music is a must for this book. Not just classical, but all. The ending made the dry patches worth it.

    My thanks to netgalley and Random House for an advance copy of this book.

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