Barbara Trapido’s Sex and Stravinsky (2010) is, let’s start of by saying, not what it sounds like. There’s not much sex in this book and not even that much Stravinsky. It tells the interweaving stories of several individuals somehow connected to each other. We have Josh and Caroline, who meet and get married as PhD students in England. Years on we have Zoe, their teenager daughter. Across the world, in South Africa, we have Hattie, Josh’s old ballet teacher and first love; we have her husband Herman and their daughter Cat. And then we meet Jack, Josh’s foster brother, who slips in and out of other people’s identities.
I love novels that have interweaving plots. For the first half of the book it feels pleasantly like connected short stories, until the strands start to come together. I like how each chapter tends to be from a different character’s point-of-view, and how we often get the same events, the same moments, told from multiple perspectives. The narrative structure is well done, as is the weaving in and out of past and present events. I thought the time jumps and narrative distance were handled very well, especially as several chapters end up covering some ten years of a character’s life.