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And After the Fire: A Novel by [Lauren Belfer]
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And After the Fire: A Novel Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 336 ratings

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Length: 496 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Belfer's compelling third novel, an American soldier in 1945 Germany unknowingly purloins a controversial unpublished cantata by the great Johann Sebastian Bach, and it ends up in the hands of the soldier's niece, Susanna Kessler, upon his death. The journey of this manuscript, with lyrics based on one of Martin Luther's anti-Jewish screeds, from Sara Itzig Levy—a Jewish student of Bach's eldest son and the real-life budding doyenne of Berlin's upper echelons—to America is interspersed with Susanna's own inner trajectory to finding normalcy and love in her life after being raped. The author's strengths lie in the historical passages, starting with the 1780s when Sara receives the cantata as a young woman, and continuing through her rise in society, her subsequent marriage, and her confidential gift of the manuscript to her beloved niece's daughter, Fanny (sister to Felix Mendelssohn). Fanny leaves it in a piano bench, where it's discovered by Susanna's uncle. Belfer's (A Fierce Radiance) comprehensive research brings depth and veracity to the novel, intertwining real-life figures and events from the past with the modern-day story and detailing the strong currents of anti-Semitism that have existed in Germany for centuries. The people in Susanna's life, as well as the contemporary situations Belfer portrays, are not as strongly drawn, and the passages about romance and sexual attraction in both the modern and historic realms never quite work. Nevertheless, this is an immersive, page-turning story emboldened by historical fact and a rich imagination. (May) --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

From the Inside Flap

In Berlin, Germany, in 1783, amid the city's glittering salons where aristocrats and commoners, Christians and Jews, mingle freely, Sara Itzig Levy, a renowned musician, conceals the score of an anti-Jewish masterpiece by Johann Sebastian Bach, an unsettling gift to her from Bach's son, her teacher. This work and its disturbing message will haunt Sara and her family for generations to come.

In war-ravaged Germany, in 1945, an American soldier takes a souvenir, an old music manuscript, from a seemingly deserted mansion and mistakenly kills the girl who tries to stop him.

In America, in 2010, his niece, Susanna Kessler, struggles to rebuild her life after experiencing a devastating act of violence. When her beloved uncle dies, she uncovers the long-hidden manuscript. She's determined to discover what it is and to return it to its rightful owner, a journey that will challenge her preconceptions about herself and her family's history--and also offer her an opportunity finally to make peace with the past.

Interweaving the stories of Susanna and Sara, and their families, And After the Fire traverses more than two hundred years of history, seamlessly melding past and present, real and imagined.

--BookPage --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
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Top international reviews

Jessica Russell
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 24, 2020
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N. E. Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars Bach's Legacy
Reviewed in Canada on June 28, 2016
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Madeleine Rivard
5.0 out of 5 stars Ce roman constitue une extraordinaire fresque historique sur les musiciens de la période baroque ainsi que sur une partie de l'
Reviewed in Canada on July 3, 2016
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merle snider
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy delivery
Reviewed in Canada on April 26, 2019
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Newbie
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Reviewed in India on February 23, 2019
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anna walsh
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful quality of paper it's little better than pulp and the pages have not been cut ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 11, 2016
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