‘Christine Balint’s lyrical writing and depth of research into this fascinating, little-known period of history paints a vivid picture of convent life and the pressures faced by young women of the time.’ — Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen, The Age.
‘Christine Balint writes about music with quiet authority. Water Music offers an intimate understanding of art’s power to uphold and direct a life.’ — Michelle de Kretser, winner of the Miles Franklin Literary Award and the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Fiction.
In eighteenth-century Venice, orphan Lucietta is raised by a fisherman’s family yet supported by a secret benefactor to study music. At 16, she takes up her position at the Derelitti Convent, one of the prestigious musical orphanages for girls, playing the violin in the ensemble and training the younger musicians. Confronted by her benefactor’s plans for her life, Lucietta uncovers the true legacy of the women who came before and her role in bridging the past.
Water Music is a work of literary historical fiction, examining the little-known system of patronage that existed in Venice between 1400 and 1797. Girls of any class or background could be given a full-time musical education leading to a career in music, if they passed an audition. In many cases, this allowed impoverished girls to earn income and establish a career or save for a dowry—enabling them to forge a fruitful life. Meticulously researched and evocatively drawn, Water Music will transport you to the final years of the Venetian Republic.
A winner of the 2021 Viva la Novella prize, Water Music is now available from independent Australian bookshops and online.
Water Music is appropriate for secondary students. Christine is available to speak to book groups and school groups via Zoom, or in person by arrangement. Teaching notes are available from here.
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