From the moment Jacqueline du Pré first held a cello at the age of five, it was clear she had an extraordinary gift. At sixteen, when she made her professional debut, she was hailed as one of the world’s most talented and exciting musicians. But ten years later, she stopped playing virtually overnight, when multiple sclerosis removed the feeling in her hands just before a concert. It took fourteen more years for the crippling disease to take its final toll.
In this uniquely revealing biography, Hilary and Piers du Pré have re-created the life they shared with their sister in astonishing personal detail, unveiling the private world behind the public face. With warmth and candor they recount Jackie’s blissful love of the cello, her marriage to the conductor Daniel Barenboim, her compulsions, her suffering, and, above all, the price exacted by her talent on the whole family. For proud as they were of Jackie’s enormous success, none of them was prepared for the profound impact her genius would have on each of their lives. . . .