The Music Lesson: A Novel

The Music Lesson: A Novel

by Katharine Weber

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307718075
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 10/19/2011
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 192
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

is the author of the novels True ConfectionsTriangleThe Little Women, and Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear. She lives in Connecticut, Ireland, and Paris with her husband, the cultural historian Nicholas Fox Weber, and is a thesis advisor in the graduate writing program at Columbia University.

From the Hardcover edition.

Read an Excerpt

Forty-one, Patricia. I can't believe it at all. Look at you. You've been sealed up in some kind of cryogenic storage. In West Cork, the women have no teeth of their own by forty-one, they have chin whiskers, their dugs are down to their waists, they've dried up completely," he said. "When I thought to look up me fancy New York cousin, I never thought I'd be gattlin' after you. I thought you'd remind me of me mam, or me granny, or Sister Margaret from school. She was a terror, that one."
These remarks, uttered on our third or fourth night together, might have offended me had they not been murmured by Mickey as he lay sprawled in my bed, idly tracing a line down my bare hip with one intoxicating fingertip.
I had been in cold storage, until Mickey. How can I explain what it is about him? How can I describe the attraction in words? It feels so primitive at times that I am almost afraid of it--it, my desire for him, my obsession. Mickey has changed me. Everything has been rearranged.
Years ago I saw a television documentary about heart transplants that fascinated me. The donor heart, which has been kept on ice, is warmed up and placed inside the chest where the diseased heart had been moments before. After hours of surgery, the moment of truth comes when the clamps are removed and blood flows into this new heart, which has been chilled and still for several hours. Warmed by the circulating blood, the heart slowly begins to do what a heart is meant to do--it starts to beat again.


Now with the deepest evening darkness of late December pressing against the windows, we lay twined together like satiated kittens.
I eyed him and put my head back down on the bony indentation below his sternum.
"What do you mean, pick one out? One what? A painting?" I listened to the quiet steady thump of his heart. "There's one over there," I said languidly, pointing to the framed poster from the Matisse in Morocco show that hangs on my bedroom wall. "It's very blue that painting. Very Moroccan. Very Matisse." I wasn't really paying attention yet.
"What I mean is, on a purely theoretical basis, If I showed you a group of paintings, would you automatically know which one was best?"
"Oh Mickey, of course, sure. You bet. The Patricia Dolan prize for excellence is awarded to...this  one." I reached up and pressed my fingertips to this philtrum, which is perfectly formed, like that of a Raphael angel. His lips parted a little, and I slid my index finger down and slipped it between them. We were like children, always touching, always playing. He welcomed my finger with a brief touch from the tip of his tongue, just for an instant, but then he pushed my hand and turned his head away, suddenly serious.
"Do you think," he asked in a measured voice, very slowly and deliberately, keeping all of his consonants rounded up instead of letting them blur at the edges, "very seriously, Patricia, given your expertise in Dutch paintings of the seventeenth century, that you could pick out the best Vermeer from a group of paintings that are all by Vermeer?"


Sometimes I study her for so long that I need to get away from that room, and I go for a walk along the cow path that passes by the cottage and goes around the hem of the cove and up the opposite side. At the edge of a field where the cow path doubles back, I like to climb through a barbed-wire fence that's there to keep cows in, not the likes of me out, and then I walk across a series of crooked ancient fields toward the sea, all the way to the rock at the top of the cliff--I'm not sure which--is called Ardnageeha, which means "height of the wind."
The Dutch painters of the seventeenth century were not afraid of the wind. Think of those skies filling the canvas; think of those towering dark clouds, those windlashed trees. At Ardnageeha, I imagine Jacob van Ruisdael beside me, working with his characteristic probity, painting the winds portrait.

From the Hardcover edition.

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The Music Lesson: A Novel 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
VictoriaNH on LibraryThing 2 days ago
The 3 stars are probably for the Vermeer paintings, which I looked up and enjoyed. The plot and its execution were boring and unbelievable.
pbadeer on LibraryThing 2 days ago
A very quick read, less than 200 pages, this provides a convincing narrative of the theft of a Vemeer painting. Not fluff and not chick-lit (although I got kind of tired of her thinking about him all the time), it is simply a light read with good descriptions of Ireland - both the countryside and the inhabitants - plus a tiny bit of morals evaluation thrown in. My only complaint with the book, and the reason it didn't rate higher, is that the writing style was attempting to mimic a journal kept following the theft. Although fairly representational of journal writing - bits of thoughts, tangents, random progress - there is a reason most people don't just publish their diaries "as is" - they are hard to read that way. The circuitous route she uses to progress the story gets a bit tiring at times, but the story does always (eventually) move forward. In addition, because I think the author truly wanted to stay true to the journal style, several of the characters she introduced remained somewhat 2 dimensional. There's no "omniscient" narrator giving the insights/thoughts of the other characters, so their development is limited only to the interactions the diarist pens herself.Still an enjoyable read.
beata on LibraryThing 3 months ago
What happens when another picture by Vermeer van Delft gets stolen. This time in modern Ireland.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the many facets of the main character and her experiences. My eyes were opened to the Irish & English problem
Guest More than 1 year ago
Historical art expert Patricia Dolan throws herself fully into her work at New York¿s Frick Art reference Library to forget her tremendous heartache. The result is a finely crafted first-rate psychological thriller.