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Body and Soul Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 450 pages
  • Publisher: Delta (June 8, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 038531986X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385319867
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,337 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Conroy's debut novel, of a young and neglected musical prodigy who is taken in by a music-store owner, was named one of PW's best books of 1993.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“Beautifully written, and hypnotically readable…the best story I know of in a long, long time.”
--Vanity Fair

“Full of enchantment…a precise conjuring of an exceptional child’s perceptions and feelings.”
--Entertainment Weekly

“A big, old-fashioned book as satisfying as a fine evening at the symphony.”
--Dallas Morning News

“A literary event…a grand saga…Body & Soul was written under the spell of Dickens, not to mention Stendhal, Tolstoy and the other 19th century titans…Conroy bedazzles readers!
--Chicago Tribune

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Customer Reviews

For anyone who loves music, READ THIS BOOK!
Joe's Wife
This read this book years ago, when it first came out, and just reread it for the second time.
carmenmiranda
Conroy's love and respect for music is skillfully conveyed through his fine writing.
Frank Gibbons

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By "lakmi-seiru" on August 10, 2002
Format: Hardcover
My teacher, knowing I was a pianist, recommended that I read this book for my summer reading assignment. I'm not a realistic fiction type of person, but I fell in love with this book after reading the first chapter. Conroy's style of writing, neither dry and terse nor florid and gushing, makes reading the words a pleasure.
From a pianist's point of view, it is immediately obvious that Conroy did his homework on the technicalities of that instrument and of music as a whole. The thing that impressed me the most, however, was the intensity of his descriptions of Claude's feelings about the piano and about his music. Conroy's description of the "wall" that Claude faces was a wonderful insight as well. I have yet to come across another author whose descriptions harmonize with my own experiences. I understand (or at least think I understand) Claude's feelings and his dilemmas; that is due entirely to Conroy's writing. I seldom find books that draw me in like this one has. It's one of those rare books that have the ability to let the reader lose himself in the pages.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Rara Avis on October 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
I read this book about 2 years ago and am preparing to read it again, something I almost never do. But I am a serious musician and this is the first fiction book I have read (people constantly give me books about "musicians" and I can never get past the first few innacurate,idealized pages), to portray the life of a classical musician accurately. (Try Hilary and Jackie for a non-fiction account, although now that's a very depressing story, Body and Soul is not.) For those who aren't musicians it may be hard to understand, that yes, people do "sponsor" and mentor young musicians with talent. No amount of money can instill this gift, it's a democratic talent. When musicians have this gift, and not just the ability, you can feel it radiating off of them, and it's intoxicating. I've been loaned gorgeous instruments I could never afford, been given ridiculously low prices for repair; once I had my instrument stolen and bought a cheap one to replace it,which I took to the repair shop. It was returned to me in an expensive case, completely outfitted and repaired--like Cinderella and the pumpkin. (And I'm nowhere near as talented as Conroy's hero.)So, the story rings true although it's not a common story. The hero's talent is massive, and there is only a handful of musicians it could pertain to in the entire world, but it's accurate as well as beautifully told and skillfully written. I was sad to come to the last pages, so I'm returning to this wonderful book.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Peggy Vincent on September 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
Body and Soul was named best book of 1993 by Publisher's Weekly. There's a good-guy hero, and there's adversity for him to courageously overcome to reach his dream. Director of the Writer's Workshop at the Univ of Iowa, Frank Conroy avoided the easy-out of formula fiction in favor of crafting his novel with straightforward language and careful writing. We meet 6yo Claude, trapped in a NY apartment all day while his mother drives a taxi. He discovers an old piano in his basement apartment and learns to play. As his talent is recognized, interesting people come into his life and help him along the way toward recognition as a prodigy. As a bonus, the story is set in New York in the 30s thru the 60s, so weget a sociology lesson in inner city life of that era.
Also, read Conroy's engaging memoir, Stop-Time.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By David J. Gannon on February 5, 2002
Format: Paperback
Body and Soul tracks the development of a young fellow named Claude Rawlings from the first intimations that this child has a unique musical talent through his childhood and young adulthood as he hones and develops that talent, finally to emerge as a full blown classical piano star.
It's an interesting twist on the conventional coming of age story. Many cite this as the classic "rags-to-riches" tale but, in truth, there is very little of either rags or riches involved. it's mostly about the sort of commitment and dedication--and the lucky breaks- on has to engage in to be a success of this type on this order.
I'm not sufficiently qualified to judge whether the actual "apprenticeship" aspects of the book are realistic--it's been criticized by some on that score--but it all seemed reasonable to me. If it's not truly realistic it's not ridiculously unrealistic either--and no basis for not enjoying the book on it's other merits.
Conroy has a clear, concise and engaging writing style and has the ability to effectively convey mood within the story. The result is a inspiring and entertaining tale that will, for many, open a window onto a world most of us don't know much about.
This is well worth a read.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Musician and reader on July 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
After reading other reviews, I felt compelled to add my own. This is the best book I have ever read and as a musician, there are things about this book only musicians would understand. yes, you can be six and love to practice, you can turn out normal even if all you do is music, and music is a natural talent. One can develop the talent at a very young age without any guidance. Conroy displays all these traits with his character, Claude, and he does it beautifully. When I was a child, I'd sit at the piano for hours and I did somewhat teach myself how to read music. I didn't have a piano teacher yet but I still figured songs out and loved everything about the instrument. But I want to defend Conroy in that some children truly have a calling and will motivate themselves. Besides my argument, this book is extremely entertaining and when it was over I searched the back to make sure there were no hidden pages.
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