Counterpoint: Dylan’s Story by Ruth Sims

Counterpoint: Dylan's StoryCounterpoint: Dylan’s Story by Ruth Sims
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

1st draft:

Counterpoint: Dylan’s Story is a beautiful novel which I enjoyed in every manner, from cover to cover.

Superficially, a highly individualist teen lusts for his history teacher in a boys school in England, they eventually meet in Paris and become a couple. Teacher is killed in a manner reminiscent of Pierre Curie’s death. Boy becomes despondent but eventually falls for a similar kid near his age and things work out, probably. All are of course gorgeous and lustiferous, reinforced by the cover.

Sounds familiar, but that is not at all what the books is about. I think it is primarily about creative obsession. Or the obsession necessary to become a true artist, one of the greats. It is a literary, historical fiction concerning being Gay in Edwardian England and Paris and about the music world of the time. Names were reminiscent of many real people in the music world and I spent a lot of time looking up names of characters to check if they were indeed real. This is telling about Sims’ characterization.

It is also about the contrast between a father/son type romance and a romance between two creative forces. And it is about dragging oneself out of the despair caused about the sudden loss of a lover. And it is about the conflict caused by an upper middle class British kid falling for an Angloromani kid during the 19th century. It is about sensuous beauty.

This is a lot to cover in a relatively short novel, but I think the author carries it off. I liked her style which flowed easily and was simply quite beautiful, almost muscial. And the sex is understated which I thought appropriate to its themes. Still I kept feeling, “If only…”—meaning it is sensuous enough for me to fall for the protagonists. It’s a novel I want to read again.

Closely examine the cover, before and after reading the novel, it’s telling. I am still working oe figuring out what violin sonata is depicted, but my piano is surrounded by TBR mountains.

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