The Variations

The Variations
An eerie ability is passed from grandmother to grandson--who now must reckon with a new cacophony of voices and sounds, all from the past, overlaying his life in the present--in this stirring new novel from one of the UK's most exciting young writers.

Selda Heddle, a famously reclusive composer, is found dead in a snowy field near her Cornish home. She was educated at Agnes's Hospice for Acoustically Gifted Children, which for centuries has offered its young wards a grounding in the gift--an inherited ability to tune into the voices and sounds of the past.

When she dies, Selda's gift passes down to her grandson Wolf, who must make sense of her legacy, and learn to live with the newly unleashed voices in his head. Ambitious and exhilarating, The Variations is a novel of startling originality about music and the difficulty--or impossibility--of living with the past.

"If Hilary Mantel's Beyond Black were written by John Banville channelling M. John Harrison, the result would look something like this. And yet Langley has made something new and unexpected about how the present is, necessarily and always, an echo corridor of the past. Beautifully written, powered by a wonderfully intelligent conceptual dynamo, and deftly sprung with surprises, The Variations is an utterly original book about haunting. It is strange, resonant, and, yes, haunting."-- Neel Mukherjee, author of The Lives of Others

Publication Date: 
February 20, 2024