By Michael Endelman
Updated March 17, 2020 at 03:04 AM EDT
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The Song of Names

B+
type
  • Book
genre

Two insular worlds — classical music and Hasidic Judaism — are put under the microscope in this lively novel. Narrator Martin Simmonds lives in London with his uptight, class-conscious Jewish family, but his pedestrian childhood changes course in 1939 when Dovidl Rapoport, a refugee from Poland and a violin prodigy, moves in. Fast-forward to the present: Martin is now a Willy Loman-like loser, a sheet-music salesman stuck with a frosty marriage, a bad heart, and plenty of regrets. Lebrecht deftly unwraps Martin’s downward spiral — involving a mysterious disappearance and a religious awakening — with the calm and steady touch of a concert pianist.

The Song of Names

type
  • Book
genre
author
  • Norman Lebrecht

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