When Scott La Faro, the young double-bassist with the Bill Evans Trio of New York, died in a road accident in 1961 after a successful concert and recording series, Evans disappeared into seclusion to nurse his grief. Taking these historical events as the starting point for his first English-language novel, Owen Martell skilfully and sensitively imagines the impact of the tragedy on Evans, his brother, and his parents as they struggle to communicate with him. In turn, each of them voices their own feelings and memories as they try to cope with Bill’s unspoken emotions. Slowly he is coaxed back from his deep withdrawal from his family and the world, until he is able to recover himself enough to play again and return at last to the city to resume his career as a musician.
Set in the vividly recreated world of the contemporary jazz scene, and structured in the movements of a musical composition, Intermission weaves the complex textures of jazz into a subtle but powerful narrative of the process of grieving and, eventually, the acceptance of loss. With authentic voice and understated, evocative prose, Martell never puts a foot wrong in this beautifully measured and deeply moving novel.
'Martell has previously written two novels in Welsh and Intermission is an impressive English-language debut, a deft and sensitive depiction of a family shadowed by loss.'
The Financial Times