“The Rose Variations is an elegant symphony of a novel, shaped by a lovely complexity, informed by humor and grace. Congratulations to Marisha Chamberlain for her fine debut.”—Roxana Robinson, author of Cost
“In this richly absorbing novel Chamberlain creates a heroine so vivid, so complex, so passionate that she walks right off the page and into the reader’s mind and heart. I loved following Rose through her various vicissitudes, romantic and musical, and through her many relationships with friends, colleagues, students and lovers. The Rose Variations is one of those rare novels that captures the complexity of a life lived over time, and does so in beautiful, eloquent prose. A brilliant debut.”—Margot Livesey, author of The House on Fortune Street
“Rose MacGregor is my kind of heroine—funny and serious, dreamy but brutally practical when it’s called for; someone blissfully inconsistent—like the rest of us. What more can one ask than that a novel presents us with a unique personality such as Rose’s?”—Judith Guest, author of Ordinary People
“Who’d have thought it possible? There’s news about love and work in Marisha Chamberlain’s The Rose Variations! It’d be hard to find a more contemporary view of the sexual dilemma, but I couldn’t help thinking how much Shakespeare, Mozart, and Jane Austen would have savored this novel.”—David Huddle, author of The Story of a Million Years and La Tour Dreams of the Wolf Girl
In 1975, twenty-five-year-old Rose MacGregor moves to St. Paul, Minnesota, with nothing but a few books, her cello, and a temporary professorship at a Midwestern college. The only woman in the music department, the other professors refer to her derisively as “the Girl Composer,” but she believes that a brilliant career writing music lies ahead.
Passionately focused on her art, she also longs to find love, but her fierce independence always seems to get in the way of romantic relationships. Struggling with loneliness and ambition, she gets tangled up with a gay colleague, a self-made stonemason, a lesbian cellist, and the troubles of her wayward younger sister, before finally finding happiness.
Marisha Chamberlain is a playwright, poet, fiction writer, essayist, and screenwriter. Her book of poems, Powers, won a Minnesota Voices Award. She lives in Hastings, Minnesota. This is her first novel.