Monday, December 22, 2008

A nice review of The Violin Lover



Goose Lane Editions

The violin lover of this carefully crafted novel is Ned Abraham, a physician, a passionate lover of violin music and the dispassionate lover of Clara Weiss, a struggling widow. The only thing Ned and Clara have in common is Clara's young son Jacob, a gifted pianist who, as Ned's musical protege, is instrumental in bringing them together. Otherwise, their clandestine love affair is rife with contradictions: Ned claims to dislike children but is a father figure to Jacob; Clara is a conventional Jewish widow and devoted mother but momentarily neglects one of her children for a tryst with her lover; Ned is a warm and caring physician who doesn't believe in holding hands; Clara values motherhood more than anything else, yet betrays her instincts in a manner that will haunt her for the rest of her life. Small missteps lead to bigger missteps with tragic consequences for all.

This small family drama takes place against the backdrop of a London under siege by blackshirts and a Europe trembling under Hitler's boots. The Violin Lover is not just a love-story gone awry. It is also a celebration of music and beauty. Ned's ability to pluck the violin makes him better at taking a patient's pulse. Clara's skills as an amateur painter help her teach her children to observe nature closely. Zayde, Jacob's grandfather, is able to forget the horrors of pogroms in his native Russia while listening to his grandson play the piano. Magda, Ned's sophisticated long-time lover and friend, befriends her rival Clara in an unexpected show of female solidarity.

Susan Glickman is primarily a poet and a literary critic. However, in this novel she has revealed the keen eye of a painter, the discriminating ear of a musician and that most precious of talents: the ability to write prose like a poet.

In Ned's own words, "music is what you hear when you really listen." The Violin Lover will pluck your heartstrings.

Maya Khankhoje's short story "Going Home" received an honourable mention in the 2007 CBC-QWF writing competition.
COPYRIGHT 2008 Herizons Magazine, Inc. 22-SEP-08

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