The Lost Stradivarius

The Lost Stradivarius

by J. Meade Falkner


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Chilling in the extreme, The Lost Stradivarius is a classic tale of the supernatural. While practicing in his rooms in Oxford, gifted violinist John Maltravers notices a strange phenomenon: whenever a certain air is played, a mysterious presence seems to enter. Unable to rationalize this away, Maltravers becomes increasingly unsettled, until he makes a startling discovery-tucked away in a hidden cupboard in his room is a priceless Stradivarius! Obsessed by his find, he becomes increasingly withdrawn from those around him, choosing instead to explore more sinister pursuits, little knowing the spell that this seemingly perfect violin is unleashing upon him.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781979302005
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 10/30/2017
Pages: 88
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.18(d)

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The Lost Stradivarius 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
patrickgarson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
J. Meade Falkner is somewhat of a cult figure amongst a small group of Victorian fiction aficionados. Unfortunately, the Lost Stradivarius is not the best place to start in order to get a sense of why Falkner is so revered. The book isn't bad, per se, but it's absolutely typical for its genre, and somewhat run-of-the-mill.The novella is a classic Victorian ghost story, detailing the obsession and gradual madness of a young student with the titular violin. There's not a lot more to it than that, and fans of the genre will be immediately familiar with this type of ghost story. Sadly, the book rarely rises above average. Falkner's prose is fine, but his narrator is the protagonist's somewhat starchy and naive sister, so we never get the chance to enter the subjective horror on display, and end up frustratingly ignorant as to the most interesting aspects of the haunting. Her voice also grates after a while. Other than a strong repulsion/fascination with catholicism, which is portrayed as little better than an orgiastic pagan cult at times, there's not much that stands out to this book beyond the general quality of the Hesperus edition, printed on high quality paper with good binding. If you are interested in Victorian tales of obsession there are far better stories to be had in the various ghost anthologies floating about. In particular, Oliver Onions' The Beckoning Fair One basically accomplishes everything this tale sets out to, in a far more eerie and interesting fashion.
Kryseis on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sir John Maltravers finds the titular violin in his rooms at college and proceeds to descend into obsession over the violin, complete with Gothic evocations of malevolent ghosts and swooning. I found this on a list of books sold by the Folio Society and, sold by the words "lost" and "stradivarius" appearing the title, I decide to sample Folio's literary taste. I don't think I'll be ordering the fancy, hardcover copy of this book anytime soon. The main character is accused of failing in morality, but all that's described in a reluctance to show up at church (which breaks the heart of his pious sister) and an obsessive devotion to his violin (which breaks the heart of his wife). That is a bit despicable, but the author, through the point of view of Sir John's sister (a thoroughly governess-from-"Turn of the Screw"-like character - in the interpretation that the governess there has imagined the gothic ghosts and causes the death of the little children herself), equates to selling his soul to the devil. All of the women in the book are very unconvincing. The narrator is Sir John's sister, Miss Maltravers, but I was actually shocked to find that it was a woman narrating; the writing style seems very masculine. Also, she's portrayed to just adore her brother's new wife Constance. But surely Miss Maltravers depended on her brother a great deal and she would have to share him with Constance and Constance's mother and, eventually, with her nephews and nieces. And she would always be "Miss Maltravers" and not "Lady Maltravers" like her mother, because the title only passes to the male heir. Wouldn't the natural thing be for her to resent Constance a bit? Surely it wasn't easy for English ladies to see their brothers married off - I think Miss Bingley in Pride and Prejudice had the right idea. Furthermore, both narrators of the book, Miss Maltravers in the first half and Sir John's friend in the second half, are too polite to divulge what terrible things the depraved people did to become depraved. There is Adrian Temple, the original owner of the Lost Stradivarius, who is categorically described as a "bad man", and no one will go into any detail as to how bad he was. It would seem that attending too many parties, being a little to chevalier around the ladies and spending a bit too much money on one's fantasy house is the worst that can be said of the "debauched" and "depraved" men of the Stradivarius. Another time, I might have been able to read this as a simple ghost story surrounding a beautiful musical instrument, but now I just see an unsatisfying Victorian Nancy Drew story, only less feminist.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I discovered this book when an exerpt from it popped up on an English test. I am also a musician and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago