Two-Part Inventions: A Novel

Two-Part Inventions: A Novel

by Lynne Sharon Schwartz
     
 

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Two-Part Inventions begins when Suzanne, a concert pianist, dies suddenly of a stroke in the New York City apartment she shares with her producer husband Philip. Rather than mourn in peace, Philip becomes deeply paranoid: their life is based on a fraud and the acclaimed music the couple created is about to be exposed. Philip had built a career for his…  See more details below

Overview


Two-Part Inventions begins when Suzanne, a concert pianist, dies suddenly of a stroke in the New York City apartment she shares with her producer husband Philip. Rather than mourn in peace, Philip becomes deeply paranoid: their life is based on a fraud and the acclaimed music the couple created is about to be exposed. Philip had built a career for his wife by altering her recordings, taking a portion of a song here and there, from recordings of other pianists. Syncing the alterations seamlessly, he created a piece of flawless music with Suzanne getting sole credit.

In this urban, psychological novel, author Lynne Sharon Schwartz brilliantly guides the reader through a flawed marriage and calculated career. Beginning with Suzanne’s death and moving backwards in time, Schwartz examines their life together, and her remarkable career, while contemplating the nature of truth, marriage and the pursuit of perfection.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Schwartz (Ruined by Reading) ushers readers into the competitive world of classical music—and vividly illustrates the temptations wrought by its pressure. When they first meet, Suzanne and Philip are promising young pianists. Suzanne possesses both the talent and the motivation to make it as a professional musician; Philip does not, and, realizing this himself, becomes a sound engineer and producer. When Suzanne’s desire to be seen comes up against a paralyzing stage fright, her career falters. Years later, however, now married to Philip, Suzanne records for his label; what she may or may not realize is that he alters her imperfect playing, splicing in bits of other pianists’ superior recordings. Based on a true story, Schwartz’s novel raises questions about the thin line dividing the drive to achieve from the willingness to deceive. Although the narrative initially places equal weight on Suzanne’s and Philip’s stories, it eventually shifts almost entirely to Suzanne’s point of view, resulting in an uneven perspective. Still, the novel offers an intriguing window into the closeted, incestuous world of classical music, where enforced camaraderie and intense competition reside in uncomfortable proximity. Agent: Peter Matson, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Nov.)
Kirkus Reviews
A novel based on a true story, a famous case of fraudulent classical music recordings. The story gives us people seamlessly grafting their flaws and growing into each other. "Two-Part Inventions" is the name of a series of Bach compositions and a very apt title for this book about fraud. The facts surrounding the actual case of Joyce Hatto and her husband and recording engineer, William Barrington-Coupe, are well-known. Schwartz has taken the essentials and made it the story of a marriage. Her pianist is a Brooklyn-born prodigy, Suzanne Stellman. Her husband is Philip Markon. The book tells their stories separately, from childhood onward, until they meet at New York City's High School of Music and Art. The book's strength is here, in these sections: the peculiarity of the gifted child, who finds herself among philistines. Suzanne's father regards her as his own property, a sort of prize, perhaps something won in the lottery. Suzanne's mother is more understanding but too provincial and warns Suzanne away from the odd neighbor, Richard Penzer, who turns out to be her mentor, almost her savior. Philip, growing up in more difficult circumstances, masters the gift of gab. He grows into a courteous, serious, successful young man--also glib and amoral. The third figure in their chamber drama is the young and worldly émigré, Elena, who attracts both Philip and Suzanne: Does she possess what they lack? Schwartz seems to strain after a message, almost a moral, at the expense of the complexity of her subtle characterizations. This is a weakness in an otherwise vigorous fiction.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781619021938
Publisher:
Counterpoint Press
Publication date:
10/29/2013
Edition description:
First Trade Paper Edition
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
1,233,600
Product dimensions:
4.90(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author


Lynne Sharon Schwartz is the acclaimed author of several books, including Ruined by Reading, Disturbances in the Field, In the Family Way and The Writing on the Wall. Lynne Sharon Schwartz’s reviews and criticism have appeared in many leading magazines and papers. She has received grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Foundation for the Arts, and has taught in many writing programs here and abroad. She is presently on the faculty of the Bennington Writing Seminars. She lives in New York City.

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