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The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt

Written by Tracy Farr


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This is the story of Dame Lena Gaunt: musician, octogenarian, junkie.

Lena is Music’s Most Modern Musician; the first theremin player of the twentieth century.

From the obscurity of a Perth boarding school to a glittering career on the world stage, Lena Gaunt’s life will be made and torn apart by those she gives her heart to.

‘compelling reading.’ The Listener

‘Farr’s prose soars … this sparkling debut novel captures the spirit of an accomplished woman as she reflects on the arc of her long life.’ Adelaide Advertiser

‘Tracy Farr’s beautifully written and well-crafted novel combines music and art as she moves the reader around the globe through the dazzling 30s and 40s.’ The West Australian

’ I was completely engrossed in Lena Gaunt’s heartfelt story. [Four stars out of five]’ Books+Publishing

‘I love the sensuous ebb and flow of this work. The language is beautiful, the sense of music a powerful onward movement throughout the story. Tracy dares to go where many a writer might retreat, Lena’s story full of raw power. This is writing that is not afraid.’ Dame Fiona Kidman

‘This is a debut novel from a very fine writer … Farr has a gift for creating very potent images … the writing excels.’ Beattie’s Book Blog

'Lena is a captivating narrator who provides a window into a world where some of life’s deepest questions can only be answered through art...a reflective, quiet, but beautifully written tale perfect for those interested in the intersection of music, literature, and film.' Foreword Magazine


Barbara Jefferis Award (Shortlisted 2014)
Western Australian Premier’s Book Award (Shortlisted 2014)
Miles Franklin Literary Award (Longlisted 2014)

ISBN 9781922089465 (Paperback)
Formats B+ Format (208 x 140mm) (Paperback)
Categories Award Winning
Mother's Day 2021
Book Club Reads
Pages 312
Publication Year 2013
Edition 1st
Publisher Fremantle Press
  • Tracyfarr web

    Tracy Farr

    Tracy Farr is a novelist, short story writer, and former research scientist. She grew up in Perth, and has degrees in Science and Arts from the University of Western Australia. Since 1996 she’s lived in Wellington, New Zealand. Tracy's debut novel was The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt. Her short fiction has been published in anthologies and literary journals (including Westerly, Indigo and Sport). She’s been awarded writing residencies and fellowships in Australia and New Zealand, including the inaugural Mildura Writers Festival Residency and a Varuna Second Book Fellowship in 2015. Read more