by ISABEL MELLADO
Spare, lucid, profound... A resonating novel of love, music and freedom filled to the brim with moments of humor, wisdom, and awe
Isabel Mellado’s enthralling debut novel Vibrato gives us a vivid account of the internal world of an eccentric violinist, Clara, a migrant violinist in Berlin. She will range deeply over her speechless childhood during the military junta back in her country, her life as an exiled classical musician in Germany —facing the hardships of touring and permanent competition— to her delicious dissections of the pitfalls of love and marriage.
Mellado excels portraying idiosyncratic characters with a surreal humor and a gorgeous, engulfing language, weaving musical metaphors with a disciplined extended prose. We'll meet Gerundia, Clara’s peculiar confident, a human skull which probably was her father’s mistress’; her friend Ulrike, with whom she ends up living in a squat in Berlin 1980’s countercultural scene, or Hans Pappe, her impenetrable, music-critic husband who smells “like a raw potato” and with whom she struggles to build deep intimacy. An elegant, candid meditation on the fraught journey of self-discovery, suffused with fierce poetical intelligence, generous humanity, and razor-sharp insights.
- Published in 2017, 320 pages
- Spanish language
- Original title: Vibrato
- Turkey: Ketebe, 2018
- World Spanish: Alfaguara, 2017
"I am going to miss this world as soon as I close the book" —SAMANTA SCHWEBLIN
"Sudden and accurate bursts of poetry like aphorisms, and a very peculiar humour make every little moment of this novel shine" —FERNANDO ARAMBURU
“"A novel that follows the cadence of the rhythm of Shostakovich, Bruckner and Beethoven” —Luis J. Menéndez, EL DIARIO.ES
“Wise and deeply beautiful; like a stone breaking the sound barrier” —YURI HERRERA
“One of those rare books where two artistic disciplines successfully merge and create a unique, offbeat piece of fiction” —EL IMPARCIAL
Soundtrack behind the book available on Spotify
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Easily flowing between the exploration of the literary possibilities of musical language, to the professional practice of classical violin, Isabel Mellado is one of the most original contemporary fiction writers from Chile.
She is the author of a delightful debut novel, Vibrato (2018, Alfaguara), and the short story collection El perro que comía silencio (Páginas de Espuma, 2011), both of them showcasing a persistent and delicate presence of music.
A former scholar of the prestigious Karajan Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic, she settled in the German capital more than twenty years ago and currently splits her musical activity between chamber music projects in Berlin and Granada.