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Because Kalotay wrote so affectingly about the complicated lives of artists in Russian Winter, it's good to see her turn to the subject again, though here she focuses on music rather than dance. A violin student at a conservatory in Boston, Remy knows she's good-but perhaps not good enough for a solo career. Still, meeting the conservatory orchestra's new conductor, Nicholas Elko, refreshes her pleasure in performing. An up and coming composer, the somewhat distracted Nicholas is married to perfect, adoring Hazel and has a young daughter, but the cozy family is torn apart when Nicholas and Remy begin an affair. Soon, Nicholas and Remy are the married couple, and Hazel is on the outside wondering what happened. We then watch the protagonists thread their way through the mundane concerns of establishing careers, raising a child, and dealing with the betrayals of love. VERDICT The narrative sometimes gets too absorbed in the protagonists' everyday lives-Kalotay really shines when discussing musicians making music-but she effectively shows us how performing artists live. Much as we ourselves do, except they then get to create something gorgeous. [See Prepub Alert, 12/7/12.]-Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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In her second novel (after Russian Winter), Kalotay returns again to a rarified artistic world where the pursuit of art and beauty clashes with the less noble realities of human interaction. Beautiful Hazel and her talented husband Nicholas Elko are itinerant newlyweds, following his composing career across Europe with their small daughter, when they alight in Boston for a guest conductorship at the conservatory there. But it's not just another stop on the world tour that's continually burnished Nicholas's renown; that the couple's stay in Boston will change the course of their lives. Remy, a second violin with frizzled hair and untrammeled desires, is drawn in by the conductor's magnetism. Nicholas doesn't fight the attraction, and soon leaves Hazel to marry the younger, less beautiful woman. The story follows this triangle from 1987 to 2007 through the insular world of classical music in Boston. Their ties complicate and enrich each character's life, raising questions about the price of beauty, the power of art, and the shifting nature of identity. While the story eventually loses steam, Kalotay writes elegantly and ably about music and emotion, drafting a moving meditation on the sacrifices made for art and the mysteries of the heart. Agent: Dorian Karchmar, WME Entertainment. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
*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.--Leber, Michele Copyright 2010 Booklist