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Good Things I Wish You: A Novel Paperback – June 22, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
(which has no literary value whatsoever and never has had)
said about this superb novel:
"...in the end, Ansay's novel feels piddling and ordinary."
I think PW should give credit to whomever writes their
reviews so that we can confront them directly. She (or he)
tells us that she (or he) knew how the book would end.
So what? Has this person ever read a book more than once?
Does his or her remark have any meaning whatsoever? Many
of the contributing readers have far more intelligence and
give Amazon readers far more insight into the books they review
than the dashed-off prattle of PW.
This book weaves in the love story of Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms with that of the narrator, Jeanette, and a German man, Hart, that she meets through a dating service. Jeannette is writing a book on the two, and over dinner learns that Hart also has an interest in the two composers. They become friends and he helps her translate letters and diary entries.
I found both love stories compelling, though I didn't necessarily understand them. I felt like I was trying to understand Jeannette and Hart's relationship, just as Jeannette was trying to understand Clara and Brahms'. In both relationships, the couple starts out intending only for a friendship over a shared passion - in Brahms and Clara's case, the piano; Jeannette and Hart both have an interest in Brahms and Clara's story and in their music. As time goes on, they become closer and deal the age-old question of whether or not men and women can ever be friends.
Ansay includes pictures of Schumann and Brahms and excerpts from those letters and diaries in her novel, which I liked. Aside from giving the reader a little of the history, it made Jeannette's research feel more real and more authentic.
There are a couple of sections where the conversation between Hart and Jeannette is put on the left and right side of the page, respectively, so that the reader can see where interruptions occur (and frequently are ignored). At first, I thought there was something wrong with my book and found it a little distracting.Read more ›
In Good Things I Wish for You, A. Manette Ansay teases you with the magic of Schumann and Brahms as she offers a fictional solution to their complicated relationship. You might want to play a little of Brahm's lullaby ("Cradle Song") or Schumann's "Arabesque" while you read.
Although Robert is the Schumann most thought of - his beautiful compositions, his madness, his friendship with famous contemporaries, including Brahms, Mendelssohn, Chopin - Clara Wieck Schumann, his wife and famous in her own right as a concert pianist, is the romantic heroine of this novel.
Ansay uses Clara as the historic counterpart to her contemporary character, Jeanette, who is writing about Clara's life as the wife of a romantic composer, mother of seven children, and working concert pianist on tour.
Ansay cautions that her story is fiction, but it helps to know the historic context of the Schumanns' background. Ansay refers you to her website - [...] - for her inspiration to the book and for a brief synopsis of Clara Schumann's life; it is enough to help you make sense of the references. But if you'd like more, try these sites:
As Jeannette's life as a recently divorced mother comes into focus, her relationship with a German surgeon/glider pilot becomes entangled with the flashbacks to Clara, her husband Robert, and her illusive relationship with Johannes Brahms. Although a magnificent composer in his early years, Robert becomes mentally ill and spends his last two years in a mental institution. The love that brought them to sue her father for the right to marry, keeps Clara true to the man and his music.Read more ›
However, as Hart aides Jeanette in translations and researching the various places from which Clara's, Robert's and Brahms' stories take place, the connection between the two become even greater. This brings forth, again, the question: Can women and men ever be just friends? More importantly, doesn't the basis of a friendship and companionship make for the most stable of relationship foundations? Perhaps, perhaps not. Though not the typical romance, I found the relationship between Jeanette and Hart an interesting one.
A combination of historical fiction and contemporary fiction, Good Things I Wish You is a story that will reach an array of audiences. Two completely different woman, living many decades apart, yet sharing so many similarities and common traits.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I wanted to read this book because I had read a previous novel by Ansay and
liked it. I find this one disjointed. The parallel stories did not work for me. Read more
I would prefer to give this a 3.5, if that were possible. Interesting exploration of the relationships of Robert and Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms. Read morePublished 6 months ago by 8mom
Alternating points of view detailing the relationships of Clara Schumann with her husband and with Johannes Brahms, along with the fictional memoir of a woman writing the... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Marmalade
So I've long been fascinated by the relationship between Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms (due to Personal Issues,) but my greatest takeaway from this novel is, in the end, who... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Doreen
I found this book a little choppy and a little slow. I did like the twists of the back and forth with the past and present though I would have like to have read more depth in the... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Sara Rice
The writing is awesome. Very classic. Quick read. I save very few books but this one I am buying for my library.Published 9 months ago by girlinpinkwaders
Haven't finished it yet, but it's not what her other novels are - this one's slow, a bit choppy & hard to follow - but still a good read.Published 24 months ago by Sally W
After reading this intriguing novel I had to have a CD of Clara Schumann's music and the scholarly text on her life.Published on December 31, 2013 by Linda Belknap