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Posted November 1, 2003
A Story of Intense Grief with Healing and Redemption
As a child prodigy, musical genius, and later, world-class concert violinist, Bree Starling seems to lead a charmed life. She has it all: fame, fortune, women falling at her feet, but she doesn¿t know who she is or where she belongs¿except when she¿s playing music. ¿She was a musician, she was haole, she was Hawaiian, a mainlander, an islander¿the list was long and it swirled like an arpeggio, different notes for different pieces of herself. The arpeggio became a chord and for a shining moment she understood all mysteries and magic, all wonder and music¿ (p. 37).####### Through music she has managed to live a life that is, if not fulfilling, at the least busy and remarkable. But her world crashes in dissonance when a wrist injury keeps her from playing her beloved violin. When one of the most important people in her family dies, she is left to deal with the brokenness of her career, her life, and her past.####### A story of intense grief, MAYBE NEXT TIME doesn¿t pull any punches. Kallmaker has taken on not only a tough subject, but she¿s chosen a difficult structure in which to tell the tale. The story of the journey Bree takes to her childhood island home in Hawaii is punctuated by glimpses backwards of her early years, the deaths of her parents, her first love, her many losses, and the singular joy she felt when she lost herself in playing violin. The reader can experience that movement, back and forth from past to present, like the shift in an orchestral piece¿or as something jarring and irritating. Bree is, however, a fascinating character, so full of sadness and pain that one can¿t help but hope she is not as self-destructive as she appears. Even when she does something despicable or destructive, she is still a sympathetic character, and we hope for her healing and redemption. ####### The story unfolds, solving the puzzles of Bree¿s life in a satisfying way, but first, we¿re put through the wringer of angst and grief, finally emerging, relieved, but not unscathed. MAYBE NEXT TIME is a memorable and intense tale a little different from what Kallmaker has done in the past, and I applaud her for stretching her narrative powers. ~Lori L. Lake, author of Different Dress, Gun Shy, Under The Gun, and Ricochet In Time, and reviewer for Midwest Book Review, The Independent Gay Writer, The Gay Read, and Just About Write.
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