February 10, 2012 9:02 pm

Without warning

This beautiful, elegiac ballad tells of a man’s pain of attempting to rediscover the pleasure of a his love of music

The Train in the Night: A Story of Music and Loss, by Nick Coleman, Jonathan Cape, RRP£16.99, 288 pages

 

Music was central to Nick Coleman’s life. He’d spent the best part of his adult life writing about it. So when he was struck by Sudden Neurosensory Hearing Loss, it changed his world.

Coleman’s story of how the hearing in one ear disappeared without warning to be replaced by a “pffff” and a wild humming that made his head “resound like the inside of an old fridge hooked up to a half-blow amplifier” is terrifying. He lost his balance, would throw up if he moved suddenly and was accompanied by the roar of tinnitus wherever he went. Once a comforting monument to music, his record collection now lined his living room like a taunt.

The Train in the Night is a beautiful, elegiac ballad. Coleman writes elegantly and movingly of his youth, of growing up and of his intimate relationship with an art form that has shaped his memories; about the pleasure of a life-long love of music and the pain of attempting to rediscover it.

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