Wednesday, May 30, 2007

To the ear's satisfaction

Yesterday was the anniversary of the premier of Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring. Denver had its own rite of spring, a hailstorm that battered the tree outside the bookstore and hammered the head of our sandwich board.

It was a dissonant day. How fitting that I finished Lisa Lenard-Cook's Dissonance yesterday. It's a thoughtful, wonderful read about a piano teacher who lives a life of black and white until an unexpected inheritance of another woman's music wakes her and leads down a road of self-discovery.

For such a small book, Dissonance is ambitious. The story is told by the "ordinary" piano teacher, Anna Kramer, but the elements of her story are extraordinary and include music, the Holocaust, Los Alamos, nuclear ambitions, and Hiroshima. I might have liked the book better if there was a little bit less of it or if there was a little bit more. The passages on music are brilliant, quiet and thoughtful. They are the glue, the thread I couldn't help following. In the end, Anna sees herself as she really is. Her life begins to resolve itself "to the ear's satisfaction".

Unfortunately, Miss Prothero's Books does not have a copy of Dissonance. You can, however, find a good copy at Powell's Books.


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