- Hardcover: 464 pages
- Publisher: Harper; First Edition edition (May 3, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062428519
- ISBN-13: 978-0062428516
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Customer Reviews: 331 customer ratings
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #873,953 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
And After the Fire: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, May 3, 2016
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From Publishers Weekly
“In Belfer’s hands, fictitious characters blend uncannily with historical ones.” (The New Yorker)
“Finely written historical fiction layered with richly detailed characters and moral complexity.” (Jane Ciabattari, BBC.com)
“[A] compelling blend of fact and fiction.… Based on impressive research, this remarkable novel spans centuries and continents, touching finally on the Holocaust and serving as a paean to Bach’s music.” (Booklist (starred review))
“A different species of suspense tale…. Evocative, deeply researched…. Manage[s] to dazzle while delving into dark places.” (Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s Fresh Air)
“An intellectual thriller and a beautiful love story. What if you came into possession of an historical artifact with the power to alter history and change the world? Sure to establish Belfer as a fearless, provocative writer. Impossible to put down.” (Sara Gruen, #1 New York Times bestselling author of At the Water’s Edge and Water for Elephants)
“A bold and hugely ambitious novel with the transfixing appeal of a best-seller…by a native daughter of the city whose talent is now even beyond the admiration of those of us so impressed by City of Light.…Extraordinary.” (Buffalo News)
“Engrossing. . . . A needy musicologist and his kid, a worldly woman haunted by trauma, the promise of the fabulous discovery of a lost and un-performable work by Johann Sebastian Bach—mix in greed and the drama that is modern New York—and you have the basis of a strong novel. Add to this generations of great names in music and culture, and you get a page-turner to love, even if you’re tone deaf. . . . a compelling and entertaining novel that will send you back to music.” (WOSU Radio)
“A remarkably suspenseful story, a literary thriller in the tradition of A.S. Byatt’s Possession.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Compelling…. An immersive, page-turning story emboldened by historical fact and a rich imagination.” (Publishers Weekly)
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This is the story of strong women, forced to overcome hard times, leaded by Susanna, who lost her marriage after being raped in New York, Sara Levy, who received the original manuscript directly by Bach's son, her piano teacher, as a marriage gift, and also the professor's dead wife: women with solid value systems that enlighten their surroundings, even with no purpose.
Environment is splendidly reproduced for the 17-19th centuries with the wonderful background of Bach music, the Mendelssohn family and the increasing intolerance against Jews in Germany as complementary context for what later was triggered in World War II.
The book has an open ending for readers to fill.. but somehow it is an abrupt one, and the reason why I did not give 5 stars.
This is a wonderful - fictional - book that is indeed though-provoking.
OK, I'm going to buy another copy and read it again ... but I plan to refresh my knowledge of the time period in Germany first.
Top international reviews
I found the book to be fascinating, well written, an homage to music lovers and a necessary reminder of the dangers of a toxic world gone crazy.
I have recommended it to my book club.