Creative genius and madness vie for dominance in a young musician’s mind in The Blue Guitar, Ann Ireland’s novel of love and healing. The novel follows Toby Hausner, a classical guitarist who lives in the wake of a mental breakdown that cost him his music career. As Hausner contemplates a return to music, he risks the stability and the love he has gained from a romantic relationship with his therapist. Ireland’s lyrical novel culminates in a guitar competition in which she braids the stories of several performers, all of whom struggle to balance the freedom and passion they find in music with the realities of their own lives. Narrator Barbara Edelman charges headlong into the drama of this story in her emotive perforance of Ireland’s novel.
At the International Classical Guitar Competition in Montreal, top-flight musicians fly in from all over the world to compete in a gruelling week. A career can be made or lost here, and the slightest mishap - a lapse of memory, a shaking right hand, a broken fingernail - can ruin years of preparation.
More than a decade ago Toby made the finals in a similar competition but suffered a breakdown and is only now venturing back into the fray. Middle-aged Lucy is tired of playing bar mitzvahs and weddings and is determined to perform the recital of her life. Trace is a kayaking teenager from the West Coast who seems careless in her talent.
Judges and contestants alike battle and scheme to achieve what they most desire here. There is much more than pretty music being performed on this stage.
As a guitarist I found no practicable use of this novel. Author rambles on about nothing of value. The narrator reads with unconvincing voices. Overall, this a waste of time and credit.
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