The Cellist by Jennifer Atkins - review by Michael Delgado

Michael Delgado

Minor Key

The Cellist

By

Peninsula Press 303pp £10.99
 

The debut novel by Jennifer Atkins, who was one of the authors on Granta’s 2023 list of the best young British novelists, opens with the narrator, Luc, musing on her craft as a professional cellist. She confesses that in the early stages of her career, ‘it only seemed to me a question of certainty … There could be no room for doubt with my cello’. But later she realised the opposite is true: ‘doubt, in the end is the performance’.

Doubt is key to Atkins’s performance too. In short vignettes, Luc recalls her passionate relationship with a sculptor, Billy, which took place a few years earlier, and tries to unpick the precise combination of factors – which include uncertainty, miscommunication and the competing interests of two artists engrossed

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