An Equal Music is the third novel by Indian author Vikram Seth. Michael Holme is a 37-year-old violinist who plays in the Maggiore Quartet. Ten years earlier, he left Venice and his first (and only) love, Julia McNicholl, without explanation, when he found himself unable to cope with his musical mentor’s criticism. Now living in London, he encounters Julia by chance, and tries to re-establish contact. Learning, eventually, that she is now a wife and mother in no way dampens his determination to see her again. But while Julia eventually seeks him out, she has an even more devastating revelation to make. Michael describes himself, in the last pages of the book: “I’m a selfish, self-centred bastard.” Not a truer sentence does he speak in the whole novel. I found it difficult to relate to this main character and wondered if Seth intentionally made him such an arrogant, spiteful, cruel, self-indulgent and irritating man. Michael’s great love, Julia, whilst perhaps a little easier to relate to, also fell remarkably freely into adultery. Their great love was not convincingly portrayed, but this does seem an interesting depiction of the anatomy of adultery from the point of view of a very selfish man. Billy, Helen, Erica and even Piers were much more likeable characters. There is much information about chamber music, quartets, performances, deafness and music auctions contained in this novel, and I believe that a knowledge and love of music would increase the reader’s appreciation of the many descriptions of music playing and music attributes. While much of it was beautifully written, I found it slow moving, unsatisfying and not a patch on Seth’s previous work, A Suitable Boy.