As Far As You’ll Take Me – IRJE #1

In Phil Stamper’s novel As Far As You’ll Take Me, Marty, an anxious queer teen with a love for music moves to London for the summer to escape his unfavourable life in Avery, Kentucky. His parents think that he is attending a summer program at a prestigious music academy, but really he’s only trying to escape his toxic household. Marty’s aunt and cousin live in London and he was invited to stay with them for the upcoming summer. His aunt departs for Italy, meaning Marty and Shane (his cousin) are left as roommates for the summer months. Shane is enrolled in the academy Marty is supposedly studying at, and is just as passionate about music as Marty is. Marty accidentally walks in on Shane fully tuned into the piece playing through his headphones:

I peek into Shane’s room. He’s got headphones on, his eves are closed, and he’s fully into his foremost musical passion. One that makes entire symphonies, but one that technically produces no sound: conducting.

He’s conducting in four, but at times switches to two, then builds to a passionate stop. He swivels away from his computer, to the left, to focus on fictional violins. He swivels right, to cue the oboes, or maybe flutes, and opens his eyes. (p. 56)

I feel that this quote perfectly summed up their relationship, two musical prodigies who probably know a little too much about this subject, living in the same house. The way that Marty was able to recognize what each gesture meant from Shane’s wild movements was also quite humorous. Somehow he could tell where Shane’s imaginary violins and oboes were positioned, which is not only very impressive but altogether entertaining to read. I enjoyed reading and learning about their friendship and felt that this passage added to the depth of their bond.

Nyah Sharratt – 10/13

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