To Music

To Music

Sixteen-year-old Askel’s mother, drunk and angry after a row with his father, is swept away in a swimming accident. Unable to come to terms with her death, the family sinks into isolation and despair. But the music that his mother loved gradually becomes Aksel’s sanctuary and his reason for living; a talented pianist, he dedicates himself completely to his vocation in advance of a make-or-break competition. He and his fellow-musicians live in a feverish atmosphere of competitiveness, an intense and intimate isolation in which eroticism and obsession flourish. Aksel, obsessed with mysterious, beautiful and talented Anja, is drawn into a relationship that he cannot control, filled with secrets and dark suspicions.

To Music is about the betrayal of young people by the adults who have them in their charge, but also vivdly conveys the intensity of the passions between them, the boldness of their attempts to reach out to help each other, and the unsettling complexity of the questions raised by the creative process itself: is it ultimately possible to produce our most exquisite forms without too high a price in personal suffering?

‘Quite simply superb!’ Le Point

‘Bjornstad is a cultural prodigy’ Guardian

Price £: 
01 Oct 2009
Available from:

About the author

  • Ketil Bjørnstad

    Ketil Bjørnstad (born 25 April 1952 in Oslo, Norway) is a Norwegian pianist, composer and author. Versatile and prolific, he has published more than 30 books – poetry, novels and factual accounts of the lives of the painters Oda Krohg and Edvard Munch, the author Hans Jæger, the musician Ole Bull and the film artist Liv Ullmann. His books have been published in several languages.

    Titles by Ketil Bjørnstad