I discovered Tremain through my friend Mrs Onyabike (Oyb) who, when not cycling like a bat out of hell along Sydney's hazardous roads, is an avid reader of all things literary.
I had suggested to Mrs Oyb that maybe she should write a novel because she's very clever and once had a short story published.
Mrs Oyb was instantly dismissive. She said she would never attempt it unless she could write like Rose Tremain. And that was impossible, because Tremain's writing was perfect. And Mrs Oyb could never beat perfect.
Fair enough. No one ever wins an arguement with Mrs Oyb.
Curious, I bought a copy of Music & Silence from the second-hand bookshop.
I'm only half-way though it, but to attempt a summary of the plot would take too long. Tremain is a historical novelist and the book is probably loosely based on the life of Denmark's King Christian IV and is set mostly in Copenhagen in 1629-30.
Mrs Oyb is always right, of course. Tremain's writing is flawless, ie: perfect.
Here's a snippet, but I'll just set it up for you - the handsome English lutenist at the King's court, Peter Claire, has fallen in love with the King's Consort's attendant, Emilia Tilsen. Peter has declared his love and has, in a letter, asked Emilia to meet him at the King's Aviary.
The following is the tiniest excerpt from their first kiss as the doves 'wheel and settle on the aviary top and look down on what is taking place':
'His lips are dry, hot as the burnished skin of his face. And when they touch hers, the kiss is like a sleep into which she falls and from which she would like never to wake, but only to go deeper and deeper into this repose. And the lutenist understands that this is what she wants, not a kiss of tenderness, not an insubstantial caress, but the kiss which is all-consuming, which marks an ending of all that has been and the beginning of all that is to come.'
Could this be the perfect kiss?