An Equal Music by Vikram Seth is a dreamy, melancholy, hauntingly sad, achingly beautiful story about a man who is a professional musician with a string quartet, and what happens when his past love turns up after several years of silence. It is about music, and love and loss. It makes me think of something my sister said when she was about six: "Why is it that sad music is always so soft and beautiful?".
I went to see a chamber music concert a few weeks ago and found myself thinking about An Equal Music. Perhaps here is the point at which I should mention that I read the book about seven years ago. It has been haunting me ever since. If that is not the sign of a fantastic book then I don't know what is. I have had half a dozen conversations about it since the concert, and I can't help but gush and enthuse in every one of them as though I had finished reading it last week.
My incomplete memory of the details is no hinderance to thinking about it often, and with affection and appreciation. I still retain a memory of the basic plot outline, and along with that some very vivid emotions and a few mental pictures: the Serpentine in Winter, a face in a red double decker bus window, an eventide sky of indigo blue. It really is the most wondrous read and I feel my life has been enriched because I read it.