Music of a Life (Book Review)

 


Visitors: 175

A story with relatively few words but full of meaning, The Music of Life is the life of a frustrated musician. The story is told by a narrator who meets the musician in a train station probably in Siberia and in a snowstorm. The narrator in the middle of many stranded travelers looks for a chair when the sound of soft music beckons him to a deserted part of the train station where old furniture is stored. There he meets this musician and tells us his story as coincidences bring them together, on and off, several times.

During the Stalin Era, Alexei Berg, the pianist, escapes from Moscow just before his first public recital. As he does so, he finds out that his parents are arrested, soon to be sent to exile. After quite a few incidents where people hide him and he narrowly escapes from harm, he finds his way to a battleground where Russians fought Germans in World War II. He dons the identity of a dead Russian soldier who looks like him and manages to fight in the war to later become the driver of a general whose life he saves during the war.

While working for the general, the musician falls for the general's young daughter who proves to be a callous and frivolous girl. When Alexei's mask falls, he is sent to Siberia for several labor-hardened years. This tragic story does not end with a disaster, but it is bleak throughout resembling the work of the older Russian masters, Chekhov and Dostoyevski.

What captivated me was author's use of selective language with intense economy, which reminded me of poetry. This story was originally written in French, then translated into other languages; although, in spirit, it always stayed Russian. The translator Geoffrey Strachan, too, deserves high praise for this successful translation.

The author, Andreï Makine, was born in Russia in Krasnoyarsk in 1957 and was granted political asylum in France in 1987. In 1995 his novel Dreams of My Russian Summers won the Goncourt Prize and the Médicis Prize, France’s two most prestigious literary awards. His works are: A Hero's Daughter (1996), Confessions of a Fallen Standard-Bearer (1996), Once upon the River Amour (1996), Dreams of My Russian Summers (1997), Crime of Olga Arbyelina (2000), Requiem for a Lost Empire (2001), Music of a Life (2003), The Earth and Sky of Jacques Dorme (2005), The Woman Who Waited (2005)

This book is in hardcover, copyrighted in 2003, and with ISBN: 1559706376 and ISBN-13: 978-0743475600,

Music of a Life, although only 109 pages, is an epic in essence, since it is about love, loss, music, war, and political upheaval. It would make me very happy to see this wonderful writer win the Nobel Prize someday, only because (in my opinion), his work warrants it.

Joy Cagil is an author on http://www.Writing.Com/ which is a site for Fiction Writing . JoyCagil's formal education is in linguistics.

(493)

Article Source:


 
Rate this Article: 
 
Book Review Mixed My Life in Black and White
Rated 4 / 5
based on 5 votes
ArticleSlash

Related Articles:

"The Life of Life of Teenagers 'Ain't No Joke' - by Keith G. Wright: Book ..

by: Beverley Pechin (November 03, 2006) 
(Shopping and Product Reviews)

Kyaa Super Kool Hain Hum Music review | Hindi Movie Music Review

by: Pooja Sharma (September 24, 2012) 
(Arts and Entertainment/Movies TV)

Sugarland Twice the Speed of Life Country Music CD Review

by: Clyde Dennis (July 01, 2006) 
(Arts and Entertainment/Music)

Book Review - How to Get What You Want in Life With the Money You Already Have

by: Jane Wangersky (May 28, 2007) 
(Finance)

"Life Skills: Improve the Quality of Your Life With ..." author ..

by: Cherie L. Burbach (July 03, 2006) 
(Book Reviews)

Life Lessons A Book Review of The Ultimate Gift

by: Michele Nuzzo (June 20, 2008) 
(Book Reviews/Inspirational Fiction)

A Book Review On Life in the UK Test - Practice Questions

by: Mohinder Karan (April 06, 2008) 
(Book Reviews)

Repair Your Life by Marjorie McKinnon Book Review

by: Paige Lovitt (June 18, 2008) 
(Book Reviews/Self Help)

Your Money Or Your Life by Joe Dominguez - A Book Review

by: Kimberly Griffiths (August 19, 2008) 
(Finance/Personal Finance)

Book Review Mixed My Life in Black and White

by: Whitney Brennan (June 23, 2008) 
(Book Reviews/Multicultural)