The Music Room: A Memoir eBook ¼ The Music PDF/EPUB

The Music Room: A Memoir [PDF / EPUB] The Music Room: A Memoir A bittersweet description of an ancient family house in an enchanted setting and of growing up with a damaged brotherWilliam Fiennes spent his childhood in a moated castle the perfect environment for A bittersweet description of Room: A PDF º an ancient family house in an enchanted setting and of growing up with a damaged brotherWilliam Fiennes spent his childhood in a moated castle the perfect environment for a child with a brimming imagination It is a house alive with history beauty and mystery The Music PDF/EPUB or but the young boy growing up in it is eually in awe of his brother Richard Eleven years older and a magnetic presence Richard suffers from severe epilepsy His illness influences the rhythms of the family and the house’s internal life and his story inspires a journey interwoven with Music Room: A PDF/EPUB ë a loving recollection toward an understanding of the mind This is a song of home of an adored brother and the miracle of consciousness The chill of dark historical places coexists with the warmth and chatter of the family kitchen; the surrounding landscapes are distinguished by ancient trees secret haunts the moat’s depths and temptations Bursting with tender detail The Music Room is a sensuous tribute to place memory and the permanence of love.


10 thoughts on “The Music Room: A Memoir

  1. says:

    This is an unusual memoir with three distinct threads which are intermittently woven throughout the narrative The first is a description and a remembrance of the home where the author grew up The second is a haunting story of a boy’s love for his brother who had a severe form of epilepsy And finally there is a history of our understanding of that disease William Fiennes has an interesting heritage He is the youngest son of Lord and Lady Saye and Sele whose family name is Fiennes Nathaniel Fiennes William’s father is the the 21st Baron Saye and Sale William is also the second cousin of explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes and the third cousin of actors Ralph and Joseph FiennesWilliam grew up with his older brother Richard and a set of twins another brother Thomas died at a young age in Broughton a huge castle which dates back to the 1500s The castle located near Banbury Oxfordshire was passed down through the family over the years and despite many different incarnations some of it spent in grandeur and others in devastation it has survived and become a living monument to the pastMost of the castle and its surrounding gardens the huge moat the chapel barracks working dairy and other buildings are open to the public although there are a few private spaces for the family The castle is available to be rented out for films plays operas fairs tours and events of every kind and fees from these ventures help fund the upkeep of the huge estateSo William has had an interesting and very different life growing up in this large place surrounded by turrets stone staircases shelves of leather bound books ancient china tapestries swords Spanish armour and hundreds of huge paintings As a little boy he loved exploring the nooks and crannies of the buildings and rifling through all the historical paraphernalia But unlike other young boys he also grew up living in a place where the public was welcomed and always present William lovingly describes the wonder of a child living in a home exposed to all kinds of activity Actors and singers were often on the front lawn reciting lines practicing sword fights or singing arias Film crews were putting up sets with cables camera trolleys and hydraulic platforms talking to one another through walkie talkies William remembers the time he sold Ian McKellan a postcard from the gift shop in the stables and the time he saw Jane Seymour in the Ladies Garden bend to kiss a rose He sat in awe as he saw Oliver Cromwell’s warts as Rice Krispies painted brown and glued on an actor’s face and nose All this brought William the allure of make believe and the delight of gadgets and hardware The work of caring for and maintaining all the artifacts and the castle itself was a major enterprise William describes his mother painting the fading butterflies and flowers on wallpaper in the King’s Bedroom using WD 40 to condition suits of amour and visored helmets and rubbing beeswax polish unto the oak shoulders of blunderbusses and muskets His Dad roamed the estate at all times haunting film sets like a home’s guardian spirit vigilant for theft carelessness and damage to the property Both his Mum and Dad spent hours working in their offices organizing schedules ensuring there were proper guides for tours and producing information pamphletsOne of William’s favorite rooms was the Music Room where his mother practiced the viola endlessly repeating scales She liked this time she had to herself a private time away from all the activity William loved the music but even he loved all the gadgets such as the tuning fork and particularly the metronome He often gravitated to this room as he wandered the vast halls of the estateThroughout this memoir William speaks fondly of his brother Richard who was 11 years older As a young child Richard had suffered an ear infection and subseuently had a high fever and his first experience with seizures Over the years these seizures became worse despite the use of anticonvulsant medication Attacks came without warning and by the age of three Richard experienced tonic clonic seizures Gradually as the number length and severity of the seizures increased the damage to his brain became severe and he began attending an institution coming home on holidays and vacations Often his home visits were difficult with angry outbursts violent behavior and sudden mood changes The anti epileptic drugs left Richard sluggish listless and with labored speech taxing his family even further Over the years as his condition deteriorated and the brain damage increased Richard attacked his own family challenged his parents used poor language and was generally disruptive However despite his lack of self control his erratic behavior and his frightening violence his family surrounded him with love and patience William came to realize that Richard’s mood swings his violence and his bloody mindedness were not intentional They were not who Richard was but were a result of the scarring on his frontal lobes from his epilepsy And so as a family they managed Richard died uite suddenly and unexpectedly when he stopped breathing during a severe seizure one night when he was forty one years old His death left his family bereftThe third thread in this narrative details the various scientific discoveries about seizures It begins with the discovery of speech and motor control in the brain and continues through to the discovery of neurons with their axons and dendrites the transmission of electrical impulses through these pathways and the creation of the electroencephalogram The portrait of William and Richard’s parents is one of utter and almost unbelievable patience They are loving stoical and uite simply heroic Despite their son’s behavior which perplexed and frightened them they rarely allowed their pain bewilderment or frustration to show through caring for their son until his death Only once does William see his Dad falter He finds him out by the house one afternoon his arm stretched out his palm pressed flat against a buttress and his head dropped He was very still William asks his father what he is doing His father says he is asking the house for some of its strengthThis is a moving poignant and powerful story of an unusual childhood and life and the love between two brothers Beautifully written


  2. says:

    Thi is not a “misery memoir”; with the current fashion for these you can imagine someone with an epileptic brain damaged brother prone to fits of violence writing an “Oh woe is me” account of how hard life was for his family But instead what overwhelmingly comes across here is the patient and generous spirit of his parents calmly accepting the threats and abuse that they know Richard is powerless to control taking pleasure in his moments of calm and happiness doing their best to provide an environment where he can thrive and join in family activitiesWilliam does not feel fear of his brother even when as a boy of eleven or so he witnesses Richard threatening his parents with an iron bar He is sure that his beloved brother will never hurt him But only gradually does he come to understand that Richard's attacks are not wilful – they are the disease not the person At the same time “I coudn't think of Richard's personality as a set of symptoms; I couldn't think of his character as a manifestation of disease That would have implied the existence of an ideal healthy Richard my brother was an imperfection of a dream Richard this actual person couldn't measure up against”The other subject of this memoir is William's childhood home a medieval castle in Oxfordshire with battlements and a moat He's already shown in The Snow Geese how evocatively he can describe his environment and the natural world and here the tone is lyrical A lonely child because his siblings were much older than he he spent his days wandering the castle and its grounds while the staff cleaned and dusted his mother polished suits of armour with WD 40 or played the viola the gardner mowed the lawns occasionally skidding into the moat and his father planted trees for future generations Local theatre groups performed plays on the lawn groups of visitors toured the house film companies spent days filming All this made for a strange childhood but William took it all completely for granted never having known anything else Sent to boarding school he was pleased because it meant he got to spend time with other boys his own age and visit their small warm houses Again no misery memoir of ill treatment hereYou could argue that the secret rather frightening haunted rooms of the castle mirror the unknown compartments of the brain but I don't think that's really the point here Rather like William Blacker's Along the Enchanted Way it's an elegy to an outdated mode of life It's so magical I couldn't help being reminded of the castle in I Capture the CastleThe one thing that didn't uite work was the interludes describing the history of research into the working of the brain and epilepsy in particular I understood why they were there and they did help the reader to understand Richard's behaviour a little better But they never uite gelled with the story It's the kind of thing that Oliver Sacks does better


  3. says:

    When you read stories of people's childhood in the first person it's difficult not to feel echoes of your own I think that's one of the things that gives this book such a magical uality William writes beautifully about his enchanted childhood growing up at Broughton Castle where his ancestors have lived since 1447 William had an elder brother Rich who suffered from epilepsy and brain damage which made him emotionally volatile both warm and generous and then threatening and difficult One of the wonders of this book is his demonstration of how his family loved Rich At one point William writes'I couldn't think of his character as a manifestation of disease That would have implied the existence of an ideal healthy Richard my brother was an imperfection of a dream Richard this actual person couldn't measure up against But there wasn't any other Richard'This sentence struck me as I thought at first that this wasn't true and that this book was an expression of longing not for the brother he had but for the brother that he could have had Of all the kindness without all the difficulty and the threat of violence But as the book progressed I saw that this was not so As children we take things as they are we don't know any other reality than the one we have and so we are accepting of it And if we are lucky we know the miracle even then So as the book progressed I realised that I had been wrong This really was an offering to the brother that he had known with all the problems an offering of love to that man And I admired William all the for that In reality he had a double loss a loss of the brother he could have had and a loss of the brother that he did haveBut he was also greatly blessed and he knew that too I remember clearly when I was 16 years old coming across the words of Wordsworth written as an old man 'Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive but to be young was very heaven' And they showed me what I had I wrote out in a journal 'Bliss is it in this dawn to be alive and to be young is very heaven'William's blessing was that he also saw this The presence of the dead ancestors whispered it to him and he heard them A Paenan of love to his brother and his parents Sad and beautiful all at once 5s


  4. says:

    A touching beautifully written memoir that I couldn't put down Historical references to the evolution of epilepsy research interspersed with the author's own experience of growing up with an older brother marred by this incurable condition So gentle so tender is his phraseology I was mesmerised


  5. says:

    As a collection of descriptive pictures it is full of many lovingly crafted phrases and images; as a memoir it was so episodic it left me wishing for a much clearer picture of this family It became harder for me to concentrate on the detailed descriptions however lovely when I had so many unanswered uestions


  6. says:

    Strange childhood beautiful writing utterly unforgettable character in Fiennes's mentally handicapped brother He's stand out and scary a tender monster who no one can uite cope with The book seems a little inconclusive and lacks a narrative drive but Fiennes's brother haunts long after the pages are closed


  7. says:

    A uniue memoir in many ways William grew up in a castle so one aspect is about the experience of growing up in with people visiting your home or using it for films or festivals and exploring the moat Another aspect is that of his older brother Richard who developed epilepsy at a young age and detailing the hardships associated with that but also the many joys he brought to the family’s life as well Finally the book details the progress in research understanding and treatments for epilepsy over the past few centuries as a neuroscience student this was particularly interesting The memoir reads almost as a stream of consciousness bouncing back and forth between the three components Some people haven’t gotten on with the interjection of scientific history but I uite enjoyed it It is well written and paints a lovely picture of growing up in a beautiful place and an insight to a uniue childhood


  8. says:

    What a delight of a book It's a memoir of the author's childhood growing up at Broughton Castle his memories so vibrant and vivid that he slips from the past tense into the present tense as he records them as though he's there experiencing the events again It's also a record of his eldest brother's life and an attempt to understand about the severe epilepsy that had caused brain damage and made his behaviour unpredictable Finally it's a tribute to his home it's atmosphere and surroundings described so vividly that they leap from the page I especially enjoyed the book because Broughton Castle is only about 12 miles from here I've passed it countless times on my way to Banbury yet never in 30 years of living here have I turned off the road to visit something I am now determined to remedy


  9. says:

    An interesting idea; writing a book of memoirs based on the experience of growing up with a brother and his epilepsy There were some glimpses of familiar sights from childhood such as the woman stopping her bike by standing on one pedal But there was no structure to the book and in some places it seemed like a stream of consciousness It was written in episodes and there was a high level of repetition And the swings between tenses made no sense This book would profit from a good edit Oh and the music room only appeared once Rather disappointing I'm afraid


  10. says:

    An understanding of life which seems perfectly imperfectA gentle beautifully written memoir of the author’s childhood and his brother RichRich had epilepsy and scars on his brain which affected his behaviour sometimes At other times he was gregarious careful and sweet This book describes life with someone so unpredictableThis life was led semi publicly in the family home a castle in OxfordshireA lovely book


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