Shadow Song

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It was a wonderful summer, a great memory, the kind of love everybody ought to have. It changed my life - or almost did - and I think about it more than I should, but that was a long time ago. Amid the breathtaking beauty of the Catskill Mountains, Avrum Feldman listened to the haunting voice of Amelita Galli-Curci ringing over the Shandaken Valley - a voice no one else could hear. When he died at age one hundred six, his obsession for the famous opera diva had lasted three-quarters of a century. Most people ...
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Shadow Song

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Overview

It was a wonderful summer, a great memory, the kind of love everybody ought to have. It changed my life - or almost did - and I think about it more than I should, but that was a long time ago. Amid the breathtaking beauty of the Catskill Mountains, Avrum Feldman listened to the haunting voice of Amelita Galli-Curci ringing over the Shandaken Valley - a voice no one else could hear. When he died at age one hundred six, his obsession for the famous opera diva had lasted three-quarters of a century. Most people considered Avrum crazy, someone preoccupied with romantic nonsense. But Madison Lee "Bobo" Murphy was not among them, for he, too, had a love that changed his life, or almost did: Amy Lourie. In the summer of 1955, Bobo was a waiter at the Catskill's Pine Hill Inn; a rural Southerner who had never heard the word meshugge until Avrum - a retired furrier, teacher, and translator from New York City - became his unlikely friend. For Bobo nothing about that summer ever lost its glow: his first taste of kartoffel suppe; the exotic mingling of Yiddish and German in the dining room; the girl he met and loved.... In everyone's life, Avrum had instructed, there is one grand, undeniable moment of change that never stops mattering. It came for Bobo in his first meeting with Amy, the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. He was too naive to comprehend the gulf between their worlds, and she was too smitten by him to care. But for a wealthy Jewish girl and a Georgia farm boy, the summer had to end, leaving Bobo to learn the painful lesson of loving someone and believing you cannot be with them. Now, thirty-eight years later, Avrum is gone, leaving a will that beckons Bobo north to the Catskills once more. In the places he'd walked so often on the paths of memory, he embraces the ghosts of old friendships and the haunting hints of Amy's presence, until she unexpectedly appears. Nothing has dimmed the passion of their youth, yet two lifetimes and a thousand Catskills sunset
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Perhaps destined to become this season's The Bridges of Madison County , this sentimental romance novel by the author of To Dance with the White Dog pulls on the heartstrings as it tells a bittersweet tale of thwarted love. Naive and gentlemanly Madison Lee (``Bobo'') Murphy is 17 when, in 1955, he leaves rural Georgia to work at a resort in the Catskills, where he experiences instant culture shock among the inn's Jewish clientele. He comes under the influence of Avrum Feldman, an elderly eccentric who has devoted his life to the memory of Amelita Galli-Curci, the legendary soprano: ``the voice of the music spoke to Avrum, and the power to wish, to dream, was released in him.'' Avrum is regarded by locals as a crazy old man; but Bobo cherishes him as a prophet and visionary, and Avrum encourages Bobo when he falls chastely in love with Amy Lourie, a rich Jewish girl from New York visiting the resort with her protective parents. Bobo and Amy spend an unforgettable summer, but then they part, ignoring Avrum's pronouncements about the importance of ``one grand, undeniable moment of change.'' Now, 38 years later, Bobo has returned to the Catskills to bury Avrum--and discovers that Amy is there too. Though Kaye obviously models his narrative style on Pat Conroy, he does not have the same gifts for melodious prose. But he conveys his homespun truths and a heavy air of nostalgia with enough skill to make readers project their own wish-fulfillment fantasies onto his second-time-around lovers. Major ad/promo; film rights sold to Warner Brothers and the Lee Rich Company; audio rights to Simon & Schuster; Literary Guild selection; author tour. (Oct.)
Margaret Flanagan
The immensely gifted author of the best-selling "To Dance with the White Dog" (1990) demonstrates his narrative versatility by offering a rare and wonderful love story. When Bobo Murphy, a middle-aged artist of moderate success and talent, revisits the Catskill Mountains to bury an elderly friend, he is haunted by memories of the magical summer he spent working as a waiter at the posh Pine Hill Inn. During the course of that idyllic sojourn, 17-year-old Bobo, a callow Southern youth who had seldom ventured far beyond the gentle red hills of Georgia, unexpectedly forged a powerful and enduring bond with Avrum Feldman, a cranky, insightful retired furrier from New York who had devoted his entire adult life to the unrequited worship of a renowned opera singer. In addition, Bobo had also found and lost the one great love of his life, wealthy and breathtakingly beautiful Amy Lourie, the pampered only child of protective Jewish parents. As the past and the present seem to coalesce, Avrum's death and Amy's sudden reappearance force Bobo to reevaluate the wisdom of his self-imposed compromises and to relearn the mystical life lessons taught to him by his extraordinary mentor. An absolutely enchanted and lyrical testimonial to the indomitable spirit of friendship and the tenacity of true love.
Orlando Sentinel
"A heartwarming story"
Booklist
"A rare and wonderful love story....Absolutely enchanted."
Anne Rivers Siddons
"Shadow Song is a rare and beautiful book."
From the Publisher
"Shadow Song [is] so good....Remarkably open....Filled with grace, intelligence, and tender humor"

"Shadow Song is a rare and beautiful book."

"A heartwarming story"

"A rare and wonderful love story....Absolutely enchanted."

Dallas Morning News
"Shadow Song [is] so good....Remarkably open....Filled with grace, intelligence, and tender humor"
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780671892616
  • Publisher: Atria Books
  • Publication date: 10/1/1994
  • Pages: 400

Meet the Author

Terry Kay's novels include Taking Lottie Home, The Runaway, Shadow Song, and the now-classic To Dance with the White Dog, twice nominated for the American Booksellers Book of the Year Award, and winner of the Southeastern Library Association Book of the Year Award. Terry Kay has been married for 44 years and has four children and seven grandchildren. He lives in Athens, Georgia.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2007

    Books theme rings true

    'that one undeniable moment of change' for me came when I read this book by Terry Kay. An unbelievable author who touched me with this book like no one else. Anyone who has wondered 'what if' or wished they had the courage to find themselves MUST read this book. It was life changing for me. I buy it for anyone that will read it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2006

    ONE GREAT MOMENT OF CHANGE

    A great novel of two people who realize and admit who they are and who they want and enjoy nostalgic truths in arriving at that realization. Truly a great read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2002

    Not my idea of romance.

    I just could not feel warm and fuzzy about this book. I am disappointed that Mr. Kay's idea of a 'romance', written at the request of his friends, is a story of infidelity and adultery. The story is interesting and well written, the characters are likable. But I didn't like what the story represented. Also,I can't believe that anyone would still feel the same about someone they had a summer crush on at 17 years of age - 38 years ago, especially if he or she has not seen or been in contact with that person during the 38 years. (I say crush because at 17, that's about all it was.) Does this mean they have not grown up yet?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2000

    my all time favorite

    This is the best book I've ever read. I live to read so this is quite a statement. Anyone I've ever told to read the book has loved it as much as I do. This is a two tiered love story. The emotions it evokes are incredible. I can't recommend it enough

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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