School of Velocity

Publisher: Doubleday Canada
A wrenching and deceptively spare debut novel about an electric friendship between two boys that slowly reveals itself as a deep and lifelong love.

Jan de Vries is a virtuoso pianist who would be in the prime of his career but for the crippling auditory hallucinations that have plundered his performances and his mind. As the disorder reaches its devastating peak the walls Jan has built around him crumble, rendering him unable to repress the overwhelming flood of memories and the troves of unspoken words that linger between him and his childhood best friend, Dirk Noosen, with whom he lost touch long ago. He is faced with only one recourse: to head home and confront him. With a singular voice and a masterful balance of emotional resonance and restraint, Eric Beck Rubin tells the tender story of Jan's obsessive friendship with the charismatic, irreverent raconteur Dirk as the reader breathlessly awaits their reunion.
    This luminous novel is about music, repression and regret; about adolescence, sex and friendship, and, ultimately, about the kind of love that lasts a lifetime.

PRAISE FOR

A CBC Books Best Canadian Debut Novel 2016
A Guardian (UK) Best Book 2016
An Observer (UK) Best Book 2016

An Amazon (UK) 2016 Rising Star (Best Debuts)

"A hugely impressive first novel about music, friendship and obsession. Gripping and emotional." —David Nicholls, bestselling author of One Day

"This debut shows [Eric Beck Rubin is] a talent to watch." —The Globe and Mail

"Named after a series of repetitive exercises for practising scales, the narrative is as precise and methodical as its title. School of Velocity is a taut novel that builds tension to thriller level." —The Guardian (UK)

"Rubin writes with grace and exactitude, giving a tangible, animated quality to the sensual world of his story. . . . Both tender and truthful in its evoking of the canyon that lies between the openness of youth and the dangerous restraint of middle age, this is a luminous, quiet storm of a novel that resounds long after its heartbreaking coda." —Diana Evans, The Guardian (UK)

"Engrossing. . . . School of Velocity raises questions about repression, sexuality and the artistic process, and is a compelling story, especially for anyone interested in the performing arts in general, and classical music in particular." —CBC

"Cultural historian Eric Beck Rubin's debut novel is an elegant synaesthetic tale in which memories of past loves and lost innocence are narrated alongside soundscapes of de Vries's musical repertoire. . . . De Vries's final confrontation with Dirk is a tragic, Gatsby-like meditation on the impossibility of reliving the past, however much we cling to our memories." —Financial Times (UK)

"As Jan watches Dirk hog the limelight, longing to have him alone, there are overtones of Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr Ripley. Like the flamboyant Dickie Greenleaf, Dirk is a vibrant presence, always teetering on the edge. . . . Rubin has succeeded in his short novel, as Jan himself puts it, 'to conceive of a piece as a story, and of composers as storytellers with specific voices, cadences, personalities.'" Irish Times
 
"A fascinating dissection of the power of friendship."Irish Examiner