by Claire Kilroy

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN-13/ EAN: 9780156032049
  • ISBN-10: 015603204X
  • Pages: 312
  • Publication Date: 06/01/2006
  • Carton Quantity: 40
About the Book
About the Author
  • About the Book

    Brilliant, fast-paced, and highly suspenseful, Tenderwire tells the story of a reckless young musician and her obsession with a very old violin.

    Eva Tyne leaves her home in Ireland for New York to play in the New Amsterdam Chamber Orchestra. She collapses after her solo debut, checks herself out of the hospital prematurely, and embarks on a chaotic and dangerous odyssey. She falls in love with a mysterious man and becomes obsessed with a rare violin of dubious provenance, for which she must pay in cash. But consumed by obsession, her pursuit of the violin becomes a nightmare of paranoia: Haunted by the ghost of her father, racked with jealousy, and unsure whom she can trust, Eva is pitched into a desperate psychological conundrum as her desires threaten to destroy her.

    Narrated in Eva's unforgettable and unreliable voice, Tenderwire is a guessing game and a whodunit that surprises at every turn.


  • About the Author
  • Excerpts

    In an Upper East Side neighborhood marked by a preponderance of specialist dry­-­cleaners, after a full nineteen years of preparation with one outcome in mind, I made my concert debut as violin soloist. When we took our places on the waxed golden stage, the members of the month­-­old New Am­sterdam Chamber Orchestra, we could have been in a cornfield in July. It did not matter that it was the first week of January, that ice had paralyzed the city like snakebite. It was summer under the hot lights. We had effected a better season. Outside, there could have been murders in the snow. There could’ve been lung­-­choking fogs. There could have been wild dogs on the loose. We were immune to it. The New York winter couldn’t touch us. It couldn’t get past the cloakroom door, though it lurked in the folds of our coats for our ­return.


               The dress rehearsal finished at five o’clock. I had been aware of the pinch in my guts since that morning but had ignored it, there being no time to do anything but ignore it. I went along to the pre-concert dinner and smiled through the thank­-­you speeches delivered to mark the orchestra’s inaugural ­night.


               The pain intensified sometime around seven. At first I had dismissed it as nerves—my debut was looming after all. But at five minutes to eight, just before we were due onstage, it stabbed me so hard that I buckled. I slithered down the wall and placed my violin on the dressing room floor. ­“Valentina?”


               She looked around and then down. “Oh my god, Eva,” she exclaimed in her lovely precise English, and reached for my ­inhaler.


               “V, it’s not ­asthma.”


               “I’ll get ­Zach.”


               “No, lock the ­door.”


               She locked the door and hunkered down beside me. “Oh Jesus, what’s wrong? Are you ­okay?”

                Someone knocked politely. “Eva?” It was ­Zach.


               “Don’t answer,” I warned her. Another knife of pain and I clenched my teeth, the halogen lights suddenly blindingly sharp. Zach knocked again, loudly this time, his tension seeping under the door and infecting the room. I grabbed Valentina’s wrist. “Something’s ­happening.”


               “Can you stand ­up?”


               I shook my ­head.


               “Eva? You in there?” Zach cursed when the handle wouldn’t yield to him. “Why is this door locked?” His voice was now ­addressed to someone behind him. “Where’s Valentina? Jesus Christ, it’s almost time.” He took off down the ­corridor.


               “Valentina, I can’t go out ­there.”


               She blanched. “Show me where it ­hurts.”


               I showed her where the pain was. “I think my appendix is about to burst or ­something.”


               “That’s not your ­appendix.”


               Thump thump thump on the door. Zach was back. “Open the fucking door, Eva, it’s practically ­eight.”


               The pain eased. I released Valentina’s wrist and told her to let him in. She rearranged my skirts for modesty and unlocked the ­door.

    ly: 'Times New Roman'" 

               “I can’t go onstage,” I said when Zach blustered in, unwelcome as a ­wasp.


               “What? Why ­not?”


               “I’m ­sick.”


               “You’re not sick. It’s stage fright. Get ­up.”


               “She is sick,” Valentina ­insisted.


               Konrad stuck his head into the room. “Eight o’clock,” he reminded us, then spotted me in a heap on the floor. ­“Superb.”


               Zach shut the door on him and turned the key in the lock. “I’m not canceling the concert, so I don’t care if you can’t play, Eva, you fucking have to.”


               Alarm was rising in the corridor like the water level in a sinking ship. I waited for another wave of pain, but none came. Strange. As if it had been listening. As if it cared about me and said, Okay, I can wait, but not for too long, mind. I lifted my face. “It seems to have stopped,” I said ­cautiously.


               Zach helped me to my feet before I could change my mind. “Valentina, go organize the others.” She grabbed her violin and left. The ache was still there, but now the fear was more immediate. Fear conquered pain. Applause down the corridor as the others filed onstage. Zach put his hands on my shoulders and chanted words of encouragement. The usual stuff about my gift, his faith in me. He armed me with my violin and ­bow.

               Panic surged as I stood in the darkness behind the stage door—a few seconds of my heart pumping so hard and so fast that I thought I might collapse. I watched the group onstage through the glass panel. Valentina sounded the clarion call, concert pitch A. The note swelled as each instrument joined it, then it died away. The audience coughed and settled. Zach pointed his baton at ­me.


               “Don’t leave me standing out there like a fuck, ­Eva.”


               “I ­won’t.”


               “I mean it. Don’t do that to ­me.”


               “I won’t.” He didn’t look reassured. “I won’t,” I said ­again.


               The door guy pulled the door back and Zach strode out. He gestured at the orchestra it had taken him three years of begging letters to found, and this newborn orchestra of his rose to its feet for a maiden bow. There was something marvelous about...

  • Reviews


    "A thriller, a confession and a love story framed by a meditation on the arts."-THE TIMES (London)

    "All Summer is a strangely haunting and compelling novel that heralds an exciting new talent in Irish writing."