The Travelling Hornplayer

Barbara Trapido


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Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
20 July 2009
ISBN: 9780747594727
272 pages

From the publisher

Selected as a Radio 4 Good Read by Maggie O'Farrell

'Sprinkled with magic' - Sunday Times

'Audacious, energetic and dazzing … There aren't many novelists whose stories one doesn't want to end, but Barbara Trapido is one of them' - Philip Hensher, Mail on Sunday

Sisters Ellen and Lydia live out an idyllic girlhood in Oxford, their wayward adventures of no concern to their passive, donnish father and their chilly stepmother. Even when Lydia is killed in a car accident, death isn't enough to keep her from her sister, cheerfully returning to haunt her. But Ellen, unwittingly, is herself haunting the lives of those around her: there is Jonathan Goldman, whose flat Lydia is running from when she is knocked down; his daughter Stella, the 'nuisance chip'; and Stella's genius painter-boy lover Izzy.

As Trapido's myriad pairings collide, part, and then reunite in breathtaking comedy of manners, The Travelling Hornplayer climaxes in a joyful and unexpected finale.

'Reading Barbara Trapido is sheer pleasure' Independent on Sunday Books of the Year

'This woman is brilliant. And she actually makes you laugh … I enjoyed every page of this book, which is so shimmering with wit, hectic energy and crazy convolutions of plots that I ended up in a state of sublime, satiated exhaustion' Daily Mail

'She has the mind-teasing skills of a crime-writer combined with a sense of humour as dry as a Martini' Sunday Telegraph