American Music : A Novel

American Music : A Novel

3.4 14
by Jane Mendelsohn, Carrington MacDuffie

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Blackstone Audio Inc
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6.20(w) x 6.80(h) x 1.90(d)

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American Music 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
fredsidney More than 1 year ago
American Music by Jane Mendelsohn is a must read, a page turner and a brilliant piece of writing. It is basically a family saga. It's construction is novel. It is not chronological. The reader is given indivdual pieces of information which must be rearranged to make a continuous narrative. It is a lively and absorbing exercise and keeps the reader interested and absorbed. The major theme is the love and anguish that mothers and daughters experience in their ambivalent relationships. There are powerful emotions expressed and described in beautiful prose with a lyrical and poetical quality. Behind the saga is the ever present background music of jazz. Thus, the title, American Music. Let the reader be alerted: There will be tears. Lots of them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I perssonally think the author could do better. The introductory parragraph was god awful.
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Frisbeesage More than 1 year ago
American Music starts with Milo, a soldier wounded and deeply traumatized during the war in Iraq. Honor is assigned to him as a physical therapist, but when she touches him both she and Milo experience strong visions of people neither of them knows. The visions are about a bewildering array of people - a saxophone player who is cheating on his wife, a female photographer, and a sultan's concubine to name a few. In the end, of course, all the stories intersect with the stories of Milo and Honor. I was mostly disappointed by American Music. Despite the title I didn't feel much music in the story. All the jumping around to different people and stories was jarring and I had a hard time keeping track of everyone. I wish that the relationship between Milo and Honor had been more deeply developed. For as much time as the book spends on them I just wasn't convinced about their connection or their seemingly easy acceptance of this strange phenomenon. Carrington MacDuffie narrates the audio version American Music to which I listened. I normally like her ability to distinguish between the characters in a book, but in this one they all sounded too similar.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The basic plot line of this book is not straight with an occasional curve, Instead "Time" in Mendelsohn's "American Music" is fluid and folds back on itself like a complex origami until the end when all the interconnected stories form a straightforward,integrated whole and the diverse layers unfold to form a beautiful flower. The first part of the book lays down roots for the remaining revelations that seem to come to the surface without any apparent order,like dreams,emerging from various decades of the 7th,20th and 21st centuries. These revelations are unleashed through the immaginative power of a touch that has absorbed history. Honor's hands magically release the tension from Milo's body as they reveal a series of unidentified memories and vignettes of past lives. Scenes are recreated in what appears to be a post-war tale of healing that takes place in the year 2005. While it is not always easy to maintain connections between the future and the past,each storytelling scene recounted by the omniscent voice of the novelist,reveals a sliver of time that has unknown ramifications until all the stories finally come together. The ireality of presentness and presence given to each episode is realized when Honor's hands set off reverberations in a shock of contact with Milo's vulnerable body. Honor's past remains hidden deep within her but eventually it collides with the sensations it produces in Milo. In his body, Honor's memories overcome the passions that block his rehabilitation. A fuller picture of both Milo and Honor takes shape over book-time and only over time do the relationships among each of the family groups to each other make sense. Only a few hardy persons can survive these family romances and the love that was or wasn't passed on to future generations. Read it. You won't be disappointed.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 2005 twenty-one year old physical therapist Honor works at the Bronx VA hospital. Her current patient is Iraqi veteran Milo, having suffered a spinal column trauma. He is moody and uncooperative, but she goes about her job with professionalism. However, as she begins to touch parts of his body, the therapist and the patient begin seeing visions of people they never met. There is jazz saxophonist Joe, his wife Pearl and Vivian her cousin. Vivian shares Joe's love of music; while Pearl studies the law and they have an affair. The therapist and the patient meet others from the past like the late 1960s-1970s trio Iris, Alex, and Anna and early seventeenth century in Turkey Parvin, Kaya and Hyacinth. Honor and Milo struggle to connect dots as the visions become clearer with each new revelation. This is a fascinating well written metaphysical tale in which the diverse deliberately slow paced segues repeat several times with each new rendition adding depth to what Milo and Honor learn about the dance of forbidden love over the ages. Like the lead couple, readers will need to know what is going on in the different pasts and why this pair "see" these vivid dramas at this time. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago