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Song of Names | [Norman Lebrecht]

Song of Names

Martin Simmond’s father tells him, “Never trust a musician when he speaks about love.” The advice comes too late. Martin already loves Dovidl Rapoport, an eerily gifted Polish violin prodigy whose parents left him in the Simmonds’s care before they perished in the Holocaust. For a time the two boys are closer than brothers. But on the day he is to make his official debut, Dovidl disappears. Only 40 years later does Martin get his first clue about what happened to him.
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Publisher's Summary

Martin Simmond’s father tells him, “Never trust a musician when he speaks about love.” The advice comes too late. Martin already loves Dovidl Rapoport, an eerily gifted Polish violin prodigy whose parents left him in the Simmonds’s care before they perished in the Holocaust. For a time the two boys are closer than brothers. But on the day he is to make his official debut, Dovidl disappears. Only 40 years later does Martin get his first clue about what happened to him.

In this ravishing novel of music and suspense, Norman Lebrecht unravels the strands of love, envy and exploitation that knot geniuses to their admirers. In doing so he also evokes the fragile bubble of Jewish life in prewar London; the fearful carnival of the Blitz, and the gray new world that emerged from its ashes. Bristling with ideas, lambent with feeling, The Song of Names is a masterful work of the imagination.

©2002 Original material © 2002 Norman Lebrecht. (P)2010 (p) 2010 HighBridge Company

What the Critics Say

“A vivid and outstanding story that sings about artistry, genius, music, love, envy, friendship, and revenge.” (Booklist)

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    Cris Lake Waccamaw, NC, United States 11-02-11
    Cris Lake Waccamaw, NC, United States 11-02-11 Member Since 2011
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    "A Little too Highbrow for the Average Reader"

    like me. The story is the tale of the relationship of two unlikable characters. Both are Jewish--one a musical prodigy and one the son of a British promoter of music. The story begins right before the onset of WWII in England. I kept wanting to like the book and waiting for something redeeming. The best that I could come up with is that it was an interesting look at the lives of those who nurture a genius. The rewards seem to be few both for the genius and the people who surround him. Those who understand Jewish religious practices might find this book more understandable and rewarding because it provides interesting insights for the context and the setting.

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
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