REVIEW: Ariadne & Dionysus by Stamatia Karampini

This unique and intriguing debut novel from the conductor feels like a deeply personal story to the author, with the love and passion she feels for music shining through every page.

Written with a precise and vivid conductor’s insight, Ariadne & Dionysus thoughtfully blends Greek Mythology and images while providing a lot of insight into the classical music industry that manages to leave a lasting impression on the reader.

The story follows Ariadne, a conductor who is filled with special talent – but is constantly overlooked by others in her profession either due to gender and age. She hides herself away from the music industry following a number of difficult and traumatic circumstances in her life, until one day she meets Carl Hoffmann who has equally become disillusioned with an industry that is more focused on shallow success and fame as opposed to creating art that leaves a lasting impression.

This is the debut novel from conductor Stamatia Karampini, who of course applies all of her own knowledge and expertise of working in the industry with great fluidity and passion that captures the readers attention. In particular the way in which she makes Ariadne express the way in which she sees music and conducting musicians is absolutely fascinating and magical – even more so when you are taken right into her mind as she sees images from Greek mythology in her imagination.

While initially her style of writing takes a little getting used to, there is no doubting that Karampini has created a gripping and gritty story that flits through the past to the present effortlessly. What she has also been able to do is show how the two central characters develop and grow, transforming from shells of themselves to characters who allow music back into their lives.

It is also a novel which manages to cover a wide range of issues that can be applied to many industries today – including sexism and ageism in the workplace as well as domestic violence. Ariadne & Dionysus really makes you feel a wide variety of emotions particularly when other people are so dismissive of Ariadne’s talents as a conductor. There is plenty to make you feel passionate and angry – but equally there is plenty to mesmerise and draw the reader effectively into Ariadne and Carl’s lives through the good times as well as the bad ones. The love of music really shines through, offering a fascinating insight in a clear way to keep it accessible for those with little knowledge about music adding lovely sense of positivity even during the darker moments of the story.

Ariadne & Dionysus is a bold and passionate book that takes the reader on an unexpected journey and was certainly different to what I was expecting. Worth a read if you are passionate about the classical music industry or looking for a unique read.

By Emma Clarendon

Ariadne & Dionysus is available to buy now.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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