Impossible Music

Sean Williams

Impossible Music
Allen & Unwin
1 July 2019

Impossible Music

Sean Williams

Music is Simon’s life - which is why he is devastated when a ministroke obliterates his hearing. He resists attempts to help him adjust to his new state, refusing to be counselled, refusing to learn sign language, refusing to have anything to do with Deaf culture. Refusing, that is, until he meets G, a tough-as-nails girl dealing with her own newly experienced hearing loss.   

In an emotionally compelling tale crackling with originality, Simon’s quest to create an entirely new form of music forces him into a deeper understanding of his relationship to the hearing world, of himself, and of the girl he meets along the way.


Simon Rain is eighteen, a guitarist, songwriter and passionate metalhead. When, a month before Christmas, Simon suffers a minor stroke, his life will never be the same. He cannot hear a note. Nothing. The silence is total. What would you do if the one thing in life you cared for the most were suddenly taken away? This eruption in Simon’s life leads to a profound questioning of who he is. His closest relationships – bandmates, family and his passion for music – have all suddenly changed. And all, somehow, must be remade.

With Impossible Music, award-winning Australian author Sean Williams delivers an intense journey for readers up for the challenge. While Simon is struggling in utter silence, he meets George, and she is faced with the opposite: the endless unbidden noise that is tinnitus. They’re drawn together by the rawness of their experience and the need to find a way out of isolation.‘The silence in my head doesn’t mean music doesn’t exist. Right?’ Simon asks. Deafness cannot be an end to his music, but how can Simon create this ‘impossible music’?

As Simon reflects: ‘The best music, like the best relationships, breaks the rules, but there are no rules on how to do that best’. Impossible Music raises the stakes and will attract readers 15+. It’s a smart, authentic, brilliantly executed and sometimes blackly funny story, in which everything will change.

Mike Shuttleworth is a children’s and YA specialist at Readings Hawthorn.

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