Chaconne is a vivid, complex pleasure, worth reading for the richness of the prose alone. Eugenie Edquist
“Diana Blackwood’s excellent debut novel Chaconne explores the inner life of a young Australian woman, Eleanor Weston, on an odyssey to Europe. Eleanor’s ambition is to achieve her hopes and dreams in a life shared with a French boyfriend she met in Sydney. Eleanor is intelligent, intellectual, passionate, and of course, idealistic and naive.” –JW Garton. Read the full review here.
“In a bumper year of new release novels by Australia’s most prestigious authors, Chaconne is unquestionably one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read this year!” –Lisa Hill, ANZ Litlovers blog. Read her review here.
In 1981, with the Cold War intensifying, a young Australian woman goes to Paris in pursuit of love with a bourgeois communist – though her idea of revolution has more to do with the early music movement than politics. At odds with her background and also with herself, she hides her gift for singing from the world. In Paris her naïve and romantic expectations soon crumble, but when she is at her most desolate, a strange encounter brings about a change. Moving to the West German countryside, she comes up against the khaki craziness of the Cold War but also, in this most unlikely of places, forms a deep musical connection. Will Eleanor succumb to sabotage, or will she find the courage to set herself free?
Graceful, funny and moving, Chaconne is a novel about the wrong turns and painful transitions along the path to womanhood. It affirms that learning, like love, can appear in many guises, and that no matter how far from home we may travel, there is no escaping ourselves.
“Music, Paris, youth, love, food, politics, the Cold War, teaching – and all the comedy of grammar … These subjects are treated with an agreeable lightness of touch in this fascinating novel. Built as much on sharp insights as on elegant sentences, Chaconne is a classic but entirely original story of Australian reverse migration. Along the way, Eleanor is undermined or helped by a cast of memorable misfits and conformists as she learns that music is more important to her than the men who interrupt it.” –Marion Halligan