Top 5 Musical Sagas

Author: Sherry Helms

Since June is remarked as an African-American Music Appreciation Month, our editorial team has fished out from the vast ocean of well-composed novels those volumes that have story based on music. Out of such musical fictions, we then have shortlisted top five well-received titles for our those readers who are as much interested in music as they love reading. Let’s take a look on the list:

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett – Somewhere in South America, at the home of the country’s vice president, a lavish birthday party is being held in honor of Mr. Hosokawa, a powerful Japanese businessman. Roxanne Coss, opera’s most revered soprano, has mesmerized the international guests with her singing. It is a perfect evening until a band of gun-wielding terrorists breaks in through the air-conditioning vents and takes the entire party hostage. During this hostage foir weeks, Roxanne keeps singing for everyone’s moral support. As she practices day after day, her gorgeous singing shakes up everyone from captives to captors, this in turn has formulated an unexpected bonds between them. Under the spell of beautiful music, everyone becomes equal. Friendship, compassion, and the chance for great love lead the characters to forget the real danger that has been set in motion and cannot be stopped.

The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason – An extraordinary first novel that tells the story of a British piano tuner sent deep into Burma in the nineteenth century. In October 1886, Edgar Drake receives a strange request from the British War Office: he must leave his wife and his quiet life in London to travel to the jungles of Burma, where a rare Erard grand piano is in need of repair. The piano belongs to an army surgeon-major whose unorthodox peacemaking methods – poetry, medicine, and now music – have brought a tentative quiet to the southern Shan States but have elicited questions from his superiors. This novel can be precisely described as a novel that is sensuous, lyrical and rich with passion and adventure.

The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather – This coming-of-age classic by Willa Cather has the story of a young artist who, when realizes her talents as an opera singer, leaves the mediocrity of her home town to seek fame and success in the big city . A bittersweet reflection on severing oneself from one’s past relationships and surroundings, The Song of the Lark explores the loss that ultimately accompanies an artist’s highest achievements.

The Loser by Thomas Bernhard – This is a brilliant fictional account of an imaginary relationship among three men – the late piano virtuoso Glenn Gould, the unnamed narrator, and a fictional pianist, Wertheimer – who meet in 1953 to study with Vladimir Horowitz. In the face of Gould’s incomparable genius, Wertheimer and the narrator renounce their musical ambition, but in very different ways. While the narrator sets out to write a book about Gould, Wertheimer sinks deep into despair and self-destruction.

Music of a Life by Andrei Makine – His father is a well-known dramatist, his mother an opera singer. But during Stalin’s reign of terror in the late 1930s, both parents are harassed, proscribed. Young Alexei Berg’s musical talent, however, is such that he is allowed to continue his studies. His first concert is scheduled for May 24, 1940. Two days before the concert, on his way from the dress rehearsal, Alexei arrives to find his parents being arrested. He flees, and thus begins his endless journey, through war and peace, until he lands, two decades later, in a snowbound train station in the Urals, where he relates his harrowing saga to the novel’s narrator.

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