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Don Juan in Hankey, PA Paperback – November 11, 2011
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
"Packed with comic misadventures, mystery, intrigue and opera lore, the book rollicks along to a satisfying conclusion....The details involved in putting on an important opera are fascinating and true, particularly the technical discussions about staging...readers need not be opera buffs to enjoy this novel." - Kirkus Reviews
"Gale Martin is an opera fan who writes about opera for fun. She has outdone herself with this musically themed farce about love and sex among the members of a small-town opera company...[A] charming, intelligent and welcome first novel. Expect more from Gale Martin - she's on a roll." -- Curled Up with a Good Book
Finalist in the 2012 National Indie Excellence Awards - New Fiction
From the Author
Truth be told, I had a complete blast - a party in my head every day - writing DON JUAN IN HANKEY, PA, my backstage novel about a small-town opera guild and all the problems they encounter producing Mozart's Don Giovanni. Seduction. Visits from ghosts. Murder. Comic intrigues. Convoluted mysteries. And, of course, lust, longing, lust, love. Have I mentioned unbridled lust?
After the baritone singing the title role pulls out of his contract, the guild hires a gifted gaucho from Argentina who won a fictional, international opera contest called Operatoonity. Hence, the name for my blog celebrating opera is also Operatoonity!
Here are some of my favorite review snippets from readers and reviewers just like YOU:
- "'Don Juan' perfectly captures our own faults, those of ambition, greed, lust and naivety, and makes us laugh at our own self-importance. This book strikes a human chord in such a comical way that I couldn't put it down."
- "Guess what? I want to learn more about opera now. What fun and how clever."
- "I want more from this author. I will recommend this book to all my friends."
- "What makes this novel so special is that are the many levels to discover and enjoy, as in every good novel."
- "Now maybe I don't know much about opera or Mozart but I'm pretty sure I know a good book when I read one and Don Juan in Hankey, PA is definitely a good book."
- "I REALLY LOVED THE BOOK!!! Honestly, I wish there was a sequel already."
- "Don Juan in Hankey, PA will help your own heart sing. And who among us doesn't yearn for that?"
Top customer reviews
Anyone who has ever worked in the arts in a small town will recognize the truth in the outlandish characters and situations. Even those who haven't had the pleasure of serving on a guild that requires you to dress as an apple-tini will enjoy this literary romp. No knowledge of opera necessary to enjoy, but you will probably want to check one out after you finish - just don't expect a meeting with Leandro when it is over.
My verdict: Read it! Martin has created some lovely characters and I can't wait for further adventures in Hankey, PA.
There are a few things that were bothersome. There are a few spacing and punctuation issues. Also, there is a Caspar-like plot line that I didn't really enjoy, but I can see how it fits in with the story. There are times in later chapters where the action jumps between characters in different scenes, but there is not space delineation. It makes it difficult to follow the action. A space or ****** would help my eye and mind realize we were transitioning to a different place with different characters. I would have liked to know more about the characters and have more action. Sometimes there is a lot that goes on, then the story drops for a few days.
I truly appreciate the depth of research the author did. I am a professional musician and am familiar with opera. I did laugh at a lot of the descriptions and action that referred to the stage production. And the way the Board was made up is pretty true.
I also read "Who Killed Tom Jones" by this author. I preferred that book. But this is a very good book, too. I am definitely interested in reading more from this author!
There are many characters and plots recognisable from the world of opera (as reflected by the titles of the chapters) and the cover lives up to its promise with the story delivering seduction (aplenty!), ghosts, humor, romance and madness amongst the music. The dramas and romances of the story are also very operatic and the story wraps up in a most satisfactory way.
The book cover promises much and the book delivers. It is a wonderful mosaic of lust, jealousy, laughs, hifalutin egos, outrageous events and wounded hearts. The book is farcical, clever and witty. Although it centers around an eighteenth century opera, the modern-day characters use cellphones, Facebook, buy puppies online and take lithium. Because it is a Don Juan story, expect much bravado and a few sexual references.
For those who don't know opera, the book is accessible and fun. For those who do, there's an extra bonus. Puns on opera titles and happenings abound. If you need some light reading, I recommend this great romp.