Dissonance: A Novel

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Overview

When Anna Kramer, a piano teacher in Los Alamos, New Mexico, inherits the journals and scores of composer Hana Weissova, she is mystified by this bequest from a woman she does not know. As Kramer begins to play Weissova's music, however, some of her forgotten emotions resurface. Upon reading the dead woman's journals, which begin in 1945 after Weissova is released from a concentration camp, decades-old secrets that Kramer and her family have kept buried are uncovered.

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Overview

When Anna Kramer, a piano teacher in Los Alamos, New Mexico, inherits the journals and scores of composer Hana Weissova, she is mystified by this bequest from a woman she does not know. As Kramer begins to play Weissova's music, however, some of her forgotten emotions resurface. Upon reading the dead woman's journals, which begin in 1945 after Weissova is released from a concentration camp, decades-old secrets that Kramer and her family have kept buried are uncovered.

"Dissonance . . . is bold in its scale, placing us at different eras in the concentration camp at Theresienstadt and in the scientific world of Los Alamos, New Mexico. . . . Few contemporary novels challenge the reader's conscience as Dissonance does, and fewer still inspire love so profoundly."—Kevin McIlvoy, author of Hyssop

"A fine, clear, spare novel about music, the mysteries of the past, and the struggle to make meaning out of our present lives. In language that is always melodious, [Lisa] Lenard-Cook writes luminously of Europe and New Mexico, of the years of the last century that were its most brutal and the years at its close that were its most perplexing. Dissonance is a work of beauty."—Russell Martin, author of Picasso's War

Dissonance has been selected for 2004 Durango-La Plata Reads! by the Durango, Colorado, Public Library.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Pianist Anna Kramer, who lives in New Mexico with her physicist husband, is mystified when she is bequeathed the musical compositions and diaries of a stranger named Hana Weissova. Upon reading the diaries, she comes to know Hana, a survivor of Theresienstadt, a World War II concentration camp where artists and musicians were forced to entertain the Nazi elite. The discovery of Hana's history has quite an effect on Anna, as she learns of the relationship between Hana and Anna's mother, bringing skeletons out of the family closet. The descriptions of musical pieces are particularly beautiful, and many readers will be intrigued by discussions of the various meanings of music and its connections with physics. The only flaw in this gem of a debut novel is the disappointing, formulaic ending. The manuscript of Dissonance deservedly won the Jim Sagel Prize in 2001. Recommended for libraries that collect literary fiction or fiction dealing with the Holocaust.-Lisa Rohrbaugh, East Palestine Memorial P.L., OH Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826330901
  • Publisher: University of New Mexico Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2003
  • Pages: 196

Meet the Author

Lisa Lenard-Cook lives in Corrales, New Mexico. Dissonance, her first novel, won the Jim Sagel/Red Crane Books Prize for the Novel in 2001.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2003

    A thought-provoking and timely award-winner

    Lisa Lenard-Cook brings together music theory, the creation of the atomic bomb in Los Alamos, and the concentration camp at Terezin in a novel that explores the 'dissonance' of the 20th century, and ends on a hopeful note. Highly recommended.

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