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Sight Reading: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, May 21, 2013
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*Starred Review* What might have been simply the story of a man leaving his marriage for a younger woman blossoms into much more. Composer-conductor Nicholas Elko, a rising star in the world of music when he joins the Boston Conservatory, falls in love with student second violinist Remy and leaves his wife, Hazel, and five-year-old daughter, Jessie. Remy feels guilty about breaking up a family, Jessie is angry about what her father did to her mother, and Hazel fears being a lonely divorced woman. Yet as almost two decades pass and these characters struggle with pain and loss, spirits of understanding, reconciliation, and generosity, especially on Hazel’s part, emerge and increase. The narrative’s chronology, looping back and forth, is set against a vibrant background of music made up of passages of Nicholas’ composing and conducting and Remy’s playing, with a glossary of musical terms appended. Kalotay (Russian Winter, 2010) celebrates art in general, even considering what it is and isn’t, in prose that is brisk and concise as well as sensuous and sumptuous, from Remy’s desire to touch Nicholas’ skin at his collarbone to Hazel’s brilliant use of color and texture in the shop she opens. A fictive musical and familial feast. --Michele Leber
"This entertaining novel follows a group of musicians through twenty years of disappointments and betrayals; lusts, regrets, afflictions, and delusions; rehearsals, recombinations, and revelations... and performances. Your ears will be ringing." (Edith Pearlman, award-winning author of Binocular Vision)
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involved with Nicolas, a brilliant and handsome composer married to the beautiful Hazel, who has recently returned to the States to work in a conservatory. Katotay is at her best as she invites us into the Boston musical scene. Half way through and ten years later, the novel begins to hit a few sour notes Characters appear and disappear for no real purpose,. Remy is no longer a sympathetic protagonist and Hazel is a bit of a Stepford wife. Nicholas goes through his own transformation. After such a promising start the last third leaves many unanswered questions. I'm not a musician but I'll say it anyway. The beginning is written in A Sharp, the ending C Flat.
On a personal note, this book has one of the most satisfying endings I have ever encountered, both unexpected when it happens and wonderfully satisfying and right.