“Fiennes has exceptional gifts, and he has written a small masterpiece, a powerful tribute to place, family and memory.” Sunday Telegraph

“William Fiennes couldn’t be described as prolific but his quite beautiful work is worth waiting for... Achingly tender... A brilliant meld of memoir, family history and the sense of what it means to truly care for ourselves, other people and places... Completely uplifting, Fiennes is becoming one of our finest writers.” Metro

“On putting the book down I felt as if I had been hypnotised... [The Music Room] held me entranced, afraid and awed... All human grief and glory shimmers off the page.” Times

“A beautiful and fortifying book, even a great one.” Daily Telegraph

“The Music Room is beautifully written, and by turns lyrical, nostalgic and surprising. It is also unusual. There are many memoirs in the world and there are many accounts of scientific progress but there are precious few books that do both as well as Fiennes’s does. Oliver Sacks’s work springs to mind, of course, though his books, marvellous as they are, aren't nearly as accomplished as this one. The way that Fiennes deploys and marshals language here really is quite exceptional... This is a brilliant work that combines social observation, personal testimony and medical history in a unique, fresh and utterly captivating way.” Irish Times

“William Fiennes is driven neither by self-indulgence nor a desire to rub salt into old wounds, but by an urge to comprehend and dignify the past, in its joys and its sorrows; to give it shape and meaning... Fiennes has a poet's gift for creating images that are fresh and original, and yet so natural as to seem almost inevitable... A tribute that is part threnody, part celebration, and that provokes profound questions about the limits, and limitations, of free will, the extent to which our personalities are our own, the tension between the beauty and the vulnerability of the human heart... ‘We are rich in what we have lost’, his mother said after [his brother’s] death. On finishing this book, we are rich in what we have gained.” Spectator

“It is not often that another person’s memories move into one’s own mind and inhabit it almost as though they were one’s own.” Literary Review

"An enchanting book... What Fiennes has done is to create a portrait of his damaged brother vivid enough that he will not be forgotten... All this is recounted in a prose which is almost musical in its vividness and exactness... Fiennes has the gift of transmuting the detail of everyday life into a moving poetry.” Daily Mail

“An exceptionally honest, beautifully-written and observed memoir of a strange childhood, touching in its description of a situation about which, while others might have moaned, appears to have been simply accepted and absorbed, as best it could, into daily life. This is no misery memoir. It is a memoir full of curiosity and affection.” Independent

“A stunning meditation on his home, and on the life of his older brother Richard... Fiennes’ prose is precise and poetic, rich in metaphor and mythology. A tender and poignant insight into family life.” Psychologies Magazine

“The Music Room defies categorisation: part family romance, part historical investigation, it is, at its heart, an inquiry into how fundamentally we are defined by the duties of care that we assume or inherit: care of the land, care of a house, care of ourselves, or care of a difficult and sometimes dangerous son and brother... A thoughtful and lyrical account of an extraordinary childhood.” Guardian

“Fiennes has taken seven years to publish what is only his second book, but The Music Room has been worth all the pain. He’s written a beautiful poem of a tribute to his family, his parents, the magical, moated castle that was his home – and above all to big brother Richard, who loved herons, puns and the damned Leeds Utd in equal measure, and was his hero.” Scotland on Sunday

“This book is a marvel. Like the best poetry, its lucid, simple narrative is able to achieve myriad things at once, and Fiennes enables his readers to enlarge their own sympathies. He not only teaches us to understand a much-misunderstood disease but fills us with gratitude for the intricate workings of the human mind, in which physical and spiritual, past and present inform, pervade and enrich each other.” Karen Armstrong, author of The Spiral Staircase and A History of God

“Masterful – this is a book of such quivering tenderness and beauty that it's as if the author played it on the strings of his family's generous heart. In its execution, one thinks of Evelyn Waugh. In its great warmth and generosity, I am reminded of the films of Julian Schnabel. In its psychological depth and restraint, it recalls Kazuo Ishiguro.” Alexandra Fuller, author of Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight

“Searing melancholy and quiet exuberance are twined with scholarship in this elegant book, written with an infinite restraint that makes the emotionally charged contents almost unbearably poignant.” Andrew Solomon, author of The Noonday Demon

Buy The Music Room on Amazon now »
See William’s other books »
The Music Room
“A beautiful and fortifying book, even a great one”