Instrumental by James Rhodes

What’s the last book you read?

The last book I read was a memoir, Instrumental by James Rhodes, a current concert pianist from London who suffered sexual abuse during several years of his childhood. These experiences left him with several consequences, both physical as mental. He was institutionalized in several mental hospitals and tried to commit suicide a few times. But his love for classical music and for composers like Bach or Rachmaninov, or the delight of listen to the Goldberg Variations by Glenn Gould were, in his own words, “the medicine for his soul.”

How did you choose the book or who recommended it?

I chose this book because I really enjoy reading memoirs of people who had or have bizarre or hard lives (maybe I am a bit odd too). Also because I love music. This book has these two main ingredients. I heard about James Rhodes and his book somewhere I can’t remember right now, I guess on a radio program or maybe reading some article.


What did you like about the book?/What was your favorite part?

I like the idea of accompanying each chapter with a musical piece. In fact the chapters are called “tracks.” I’ve discovered several musical pieces I didn’t know and lots of details about composers and their extraordinary lives.

Would you recommend this book? Why or why not?

I strongly recommend this book if you are interested in music or if you like to read memoirs (in spite of the fact that the author was 38 when he wrote it). But to be fair, I have to tell you something if you are thinking about reading it, it’s a difficult book. The life of James Rhodes is not a walk in the park, as you can imagine.

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