Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sight Reading by Daphne Kalotay

5 Star

On a Boston street one warm spring day after a long New England winter, Hazel and Remy spot each other for the first time in years. Under ordinary circumstances, this meeting might seem insignificant. But Remy, a gifted violinist, is married to the composer Nicholas Elko-once the love of Hazel's life.

It has been twenty years since Remy, a conservatory student whose ambition may outstrip her talent; Nicholas, a wunderkind suddenly struggling with a masterwork he cannot fully realize; and his wife, beautiful and fragile Hazel, first came together and tipped their collective world on its axis. Over the decades, each has buried disappointments and betrayals that now threaten to undermine their happiness. But as their entwined stories unfold from 1987 to 2007, from Europe to America, from conservatory life to the Boston Symphony Orchestra, each will discover the surprising ways in which the quest to create something real and true--be it a work of art or one's own life--can lead to the most personal of revelations, including the unearthing of secrets we keep, even from ourselves.

Rebecca - 5 Star

It has been a long time since I’ve been this entranced by a novel. If I could give Sight Reading six stars I would. In the three days it took me to guzzle this book I started carting it around with me everywhere so that if the chance presented itself I could read a few more pages on the sly. Usually I’m one of those slightly embarrassing mums heard yelling at their offspring on the pitch sidelines during soccer practice, but this week I was far more subdued, huddled over my book relishing the few minutes of relative uninterrupted reading time. 

It’s hard to unpick exactly why I found Sight Reading so delectable. Both the bare bones of the plot and the characters are not I suppose that profound or unusual but they are beautifully executed. Kalotay’s ability to capture a thought, a feeling or a moment had me mentally exclaiming ‘that’s exactly it!’ too many times to count; I could almost feel myself strolling around Boston on a spring day with Hazel or in the concert hall alongside Remy.

My only reticence in saying that everyone should read this book is that it’s unifying theme of classical music is written about in great technical detail which I wonder if you have no interest or experience of might be daunting.  That said I think Kalotay’s words manage to convey the essence of and passions that music evokes to perfection, which is quite a feat given that the written word and music are poles apart on the sensory spectrum.

This sumptuous book is Daphne Kalotay’s second novel; I have already ordered her first book, and so unfortunately the next book on my ‘read-to-review’ list will just have to wait. I may have just found myself a new favorite author.

Thank you to HarperCollins for our review copy. All opinions are our own. 

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