The Flute Player

(Victor Gollancz, 1979)
My first published novel, though I wrote it second, after 'Birthstone'. Winner of the Gollancz/Guardian Fantasy Prize. I only discovered the title on the very last page, when I suddenly realised my heroine would learn to play the flute --since she is a form of the Muse.

This novel emerged out of of fascination with Russian poets and particularly Anna Akhmatova. I wanted a generic figure, a woman who preserved the truth of the word, while chaos reigned all around her. I didn't want to individualise the characters too much, so there is very little dialogue in this novel.

''One of the most skilful and imaginative pieces of fiction I have read in years.'
Alex de Jonge, 'Spectator'.

'Full of its own life, dreamed with a fluent and lyrical clarity that should warm and surprise any responsive reader.'
'The Guardian'