Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Sight Reading by Daphne Kalotay

Sight Reading by Daphne Kalotay
"On a warm spring day after a long New England winter, Hazel and Remy spot each other for the first time in years. Under ordinary circumstances, this meeting might seem insignificant. But Remy, a gifted violinist, is married to the Scottish composer Nicholas Elko--once the love of Hazel's life, now struggling with a masterwork he cannot realize. In the twenty years since Hazel' s world was tipped on its axis, these three artists have faced unexpected joys, mysterious afflictions and other puzzles of life, their fates irrevocably interlaced.

As their story unfolds across two decades, moving from Europe to America and from conservatory life to the Boston Symphony Orchestra, this moving novel explores how the desire to create something real and true--be it a work of art or one's own life--can lead to deeper personal revelations, including the secrets we keep, even from ourselves."- summary from Amazon

I don't review adult books very often and when I do, it's for a reason- mostly that reason is because it's a YA author I like writing adult (Meg Cabot, Sara Shepard, Richelle Mead), but the reason for this one is a little more personal. Kalotay was the visiting writer for a semester on my college campus, and I took a course from her. I read her short story collection before the course started, and then read her debut novel Russian Winter after getting a signed ARC of it at BEA my first year there (and yes, she recognized me). This sophomore novel caught me completely by surprise, having come across it just a month or so before release on Edelweiss' digital review copy list; her debut caught me by surprise too- didn't realize it until I saw her name in the BEA schedule! I was so lucky that Harper approved me to read the book.

I had to read it very quickly (because Edelweiss works differently from Netgalley in terms of downloading and expiration dates), but Kalotay's prose and characters made this very easy. The way that Kalotay writes is so engrossing that the pages just fly by. Like Russian Winter, the story is told from the POVs of three different characters (Hazel, Remy, and Nicholas) over the course of many years (in this case, 1987-2007). The reader spends a lot of time with these characters, really getting to know them and their history, flaws, friendships, relationships, and the core of who they are. This isn't a fast-paced, action-packed book; it is true to say that not much happens, but these characters become like real people and it becomes hard to put this book down. You can feel and see yourself in these characters in at least some small way.

The story is set up against the classical music scene in Boston (though other locales do appear) and I will be honest that sometimes the music talk did confuse me, but that's a very minor complaint. There is a handy little music terminology guide in the back of the book though. But even though I may not have understood the music terms or how a note or piece would sound, Kalotay's prose was still beautiful to read and very lyrical.

Overall, another fantastic book from Kalotay and I look forward to her next novel and many more to come!

FTC: Received e-galley from Edelweiss. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds good - I love when the visiting author (Ben Fountain) I took a class with has a new book out.