Symphony No. 3 follows the life of renowned French composer Camille Saint-Saëns as he ascends from child prodigy to worldwide fame. As his acclaim grows in Paris, the musical world around him clamours with competitors, dilettantes, turncoats, and revenge seekers. At the height of his success, Camille leaves everything behind to embark on a Dantean quest to discover the truth about his dead lover, Henri. At the end of this adventure, still haunted by the holes in his past, he takes up an invitation to journey by ocean-liner to the New World.
Finely crafted in its own unique rhythmic language, Symphony No. 3 is cast in four sections to mirror Saint-Saëns’s famous work, popularly known as the Organ Symphony, and is told through the perspective of his devoted twin brother who may or may not be imaginary.
Though set in the decades surrounding the fin de siècle, Symphony No. 3 speaks directly to our present moment and the rise of political violence.
“Symphony No. 3 is not only a vibrant dramatization of the life of Camille Saint-Saëns, but also a profound meditation on the place of music in culture, and of the tension between art and life. Eaton’s language is orchestral in range, and there are wise epigrams worthy of Wilde (“people who believe too much know nothing; people who know too much believe nothing”). The novel is rich in period detail, along with some imaginative departures from the historical record. Like the organ work for which it is named, Symphony No. 3 is a sumptuous achievement.” —Steven Moore, author of The Novel: An Alternative History
“Music is more than the topic of discussion here: Eaton’s style and form are music. With sentences ranging from playful to brutal, tender to devastating, this book can hit registers most can’t. Open your ears to it: it’s worth a listen.” —Hayden Bennett, Deputy Editor at The Believer
“Did You Know a Lion’s Heart Never Grows?” Read an Excerpt from Chris Eaton’ Musical Novel, Symphony No. 3 —Open Book
“Impressive, filled with diverse, imaginative prose and grounded in a connection to today.” —The Harvard Crimson
“A fantastically fictional account of the life and times of this prodigy with a divisive temperament… Ornate, flamboyant, assertively make-believe.” —Brett Josef Grubisic, The Toronto Star
Chris Eaton is the author of three previous novels, including Chris Eaton, a Biography (Book*hug, 2013), selected as one of the Books of the Year by Quill and Quire and the Toronto Star. He spent many years making music in the band Rock Plaza Central. He currently lives in Sackville, New Brunswick, with his partner and two children.
October 8, 2019 | Fiction
5.25 x 8 inches | 360 pages
Trade Paper: ISBN 9781771665100
Book*hug Press wishes to acknowledge the land on which it operates. For thousands of years it has been the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and most recently, the Mississaugas of the Credit River. Today, this meeting place is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work on this land.