Author(s): Susan Mann
The most important things are hardest to find words for, her father once noted. That's why people make music. When Ana returns to the ramshackle cottage of her youth in the seaside village of Noordhoek, near Cape Town, she does so with the intention of sorting out her father's affairs. It soon becomes clear that more is at stake. After a decade in London, where she has failed to find work as a musician, her return to South Africa puts further distance into an already-strained marriage, not only because she is out of reach, but because Michael, her husband, has lost faith in the country. Quick to welcome her is her neighbour, Franz van der Veer, an architect searching for redemption. This is further complicated by the arrival of his eccentric brother, Daniel. Against a tangle of childhood memories, scarred histories and renewed hope, Ana finally starts to confront the death of Sam, her Irish luthier father, and with it, questions of guilt and belonging. Lyrical and beautifully-told, "Quarter Tones" is a story about music and belonging, about love and loss and identity.
Shortlisted for Commonwealth Writers' Prize Best Book - Africa 2008.
Susan Mann was born in Durban in 1967. She has worked in the media and taught at the University of Cape Town. She is currently doing research in France.