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The soundtracked novel that won’t sit still

A review of The Emperor Waltz, by Philip Hensher. An intriguing misstep aside, this is a rich and captivating book

5 July 2014

9:00 AM

5 July 2014

9:00 AM

The Emperor Waltz Philip Hensher

4th Estate, pp.613, £18.99, ISBN: 9780007459875

The Emperor Waltz is long enough at 600 pages to be divided, in the old-fashioned way, into nine ‘books’. Each book has a date, sliding from 1922 to 1979 to next year to 203 ad to last month. This might suggest an overly systematic novel in the mode of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas or Eleanor Catton’s Booker Prize-winning breezeblock The Luminaries.

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