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Posted October 7, 2011
An American Masterpiece
I'm not kidding! This ranks at or near the top of all novels written any time, any place. OK---Huck Finn probably wins by a nose, but you'll love this book. Richard Powers is obviously an extremely intelligent author, especially concerning music and math/science. Don't be afraid; he writes so well that you'll understand everything, even when you think you won't or couldn't. He writes so well that I found myself having to stop periodically to resume breathing. I would also recommend his other books, especially the Gold Bug Variations (which links the structures of Papa Bach's Goldberg Variations and DNA itself in a way that amazes and delights a careful reader. I would also recommend: One Hundred Years of Solitude (Garcia-Marquez), The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (Murakami), Specimen Days (Michael Cunningham), and The Dork of Cork (Chet Ramo).
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Posted December 11, 2013
An extraordinary book!
The magic of music, physics, race, and history intwine. Powers' writing is beautiful and incisive at the same time.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
The pages fly as you read along on the journey of our country through the journey of an American family.
A must for book clubs as you will want to share this beautifully written book as you read from beginning to end.
Posted December 12, 2011
Mr. Powers takes us on an extrodinary journey into American history and also delivers one of the most touching love stories written over the last decade. I give this book my highest recommendation.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 21, 2010
Brilliant Historical Novel Focused on Race and Classical Music
This is a sweeping historical novel of epic proportions, following the fictional lives of a German Jewish refugee physicist who comes to hear Marian Anderson on the Mall in 1939 and meets the African-American daughter of a Philadelphia physician who becomes the love of his life. The lives of their children, all of whom inherit beautiful signing voices from their parents (especially their mother), are a fascinating character study of individuals dealing with the changing racial attitudes of society against the backdrop of American history from the 1939 concert to the Million Man March. It is also a portrayal of the world of classical music, with the two Strom boys entering Julliard and the eldest becoming a renowned singer, first in America and then in Europe, rejecting traditional operatic forms and opting to join the early music movement. If the author is not a musician, he must be a tremendous researcher to have delved so deeply into the musical issue presented here. The author is very skilled at character development, allowing each individual to come alive in a non-linear narrative of history, jumping forward and backward in time to suit his purposes to great effect. This is a truly moving and inspiring novel, dealing with profound issues of racial identity and American life in the 20th century, and it deserves wide readership at any time, but especially now as we are led by our first biracial President.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 26, 2008
Time for Time of Our Singing
If you have the time to read this 631 page book it is certainly an excellent book, beautifully written but not in a succinct fashion. It has been chosen for our book club but I am despairing as to whether our members can or will read it. It addresses important issues connected to racism as the characters confront their own inability to overcome racism and the effects of racism in others, in society and in themselves. It also attempts to verbalize musical experience which can be rather arduous to get through and is not always successful. Music and singing are however,effective metaphors for the experience of the characters.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 29, 2004
What is there to say?
I read this book for senior humanities independent reading and it was absolutely beautiful. I remember after I finished reading it, I just sat for about 15 minutes dazing off. I don't really know what there is to say except that Powers does a wonderful job of developing his characters and getting you invloved in the story. I also really liked how he incorporated events in history into this story. If you read this you will be a better person.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 9, 2004
An important book for gen-Xers, a beautiful book for all
I found this book mesmerizing. It transported me completely into worlds I do not know: professional, classical singing, quantum physics, and most importantly, what it was like to be Black in America in the '50s, 60s, and '70s. I only came to the US in the mid-'80s, and even then, as a self-absorbed college kid, so I was ignorant of the period. The Time of Our Singing provided fascinating insights into the highlights of recent American history. The book itself is a song - a lament, at times- overall, a sweeping, entrancing ode. Powers creates beauty in the content, but also in the writing, in the juxtaposition of words. I expect to find this kind of textual music in French literature; I thoroughly savored it in The Time of Our Singing. I highly recommend this book. It is important, enlightening, engaging, and a pleasure to read through.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 1, 2003
Sing For the Tear
I saw Richard Powers do a reading in Philadelphia, and it is clear that he is a brilliant and motivated man. This is a greatly textured, luminous novel that will keep the reader's mind awake and alive. Some may find it depressing, but I found it to be thought-compelling rather than saddening. This book continually asks the question, 'Have we, as a [local, national, and global] community, made progress in the area of racial relations?' By a stroke of genius it leaves the answer up to the reader.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 21, 2012
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