At the international classical guitar competition in Montreal, top-flight, musicians fly in from all over the world to compete in a gruelling week. A career can be made or lost here, and the slightest mishap — a lapse of memory, a shaking right hand, a broken fingernail — can ruin years of preparation.
A decade ago Toby made the finals in a similar competition but suffered a breakdown and is only now venturing back into the fray. Middle-aged Lucy is tired of playing bar mitzvahs and weddings and is determined to perform the recital of her life. Trace is a kayaking teenager from the West Coast who seems careless in her talent.
Judges and contestants alike battle and scheme to achieve what they most desire here. There is much more than pretty music being performed on this stage.
Ann Ireland is the author of A Certain Mr. Takahashi (winner of the Seal First Novel Award), The Instructor (shortlisted for the Trillium Book Award), and Exile (shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction and the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize). She lives in Toronto.