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Customer Review

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powers' best novel, January 21, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The Time of Our Singing (Hardcover)
The Time of Our Singing is filled with Richard Powers' usual ambitious and startling gumbo of history and science (how the future and the past collaborate themselves into existence in this novel is utterly thrilling), but Singing rises above his other remarkable novels, I believe, because of the characters who come so alive in these pages. They're all deeply flawed individuals who still elicit the reader's interest and sympathy. Their wounds are so familiar, steeped in and beyond race, and I wanted them to be better than they were, kinder, happier, and yet people are who they are, and it's the gap between could and should, want to and can't that give these characters such life.
David Strom and Delia Daley fall enough in love to ignore their racial divide, but the world is unwilling to forgive them--or their children. Though the parents try to forge their childrens' strength in the making of music, this talented family can't hold together their own song. Poor Joseph is paralyzed by his devotion to his gifted brother, Jonah, who in turn treats Joseph to off-handed, casual cruelty. Sister Ruth is treated almost as an afterthought, and so rejects one family and forges another. Meanwhile, history begins to pick them off, one by one.
A tragic, haunting story--not only of a family but of our country, as well--and yet oddly hopeful. Throughout the sweep of this marvelous novel these complex characters held me, and now I find they won't let me go.
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