The Other La Bohème is literary fiction that depicts the lives and loves of four friends who pursue opera singers' careers in present-day New York City. Jennifer (soprano), Stephanie (mezzo-soprano), Henry (tenor), and John (baritone) met in music school in Manhattan, where they performed Puccini's famous opera La Bohème at their graduation concert. After graduation they banded together as a group called the Dolci Quattro, pledging to support one another in their professional pursuits. Several years later, they have landed the roles of Mimi, Musette, Marcello, and Rodolfo in the nearly forgotten opera La Bohème by Leoncavalloknown as "the other La Bohème"which is to be produced by the New York Bel Canto Opera.
The novel begins with arias and a duet sung by Henry and Stephanie in the Café Momus. Jennifer and John come in, and they congratulate each other on their new roles. Immediately, though, the thoughts of the current state of their personal lives cool their enthusiasm.
As the story unfolds, Jennifer discovers that her fiancé, Richard, an investment banker and a fiction writer, is having an affair with another woman. Stephanie struggles to find a steady love, while perturbed by a strained relationship with her father, a billionaire hedge fund manager, who abandoned her late mother. Henry faces a pressure from his family to renounce his bohemian life for a more respectful career as he meets his new love, Christine, a poet. John receives a summons for divorce from the lawyer of his wife Michelle, a painter.
Set in the rich artistic backdrop of New York City, the Dolci Quattro's lives and loves go through ups and downs in joy and despair, while true to their pledge they give one another much-needed moral support. As the opening night nears, the Dolci Quattro make their utmost efforts to perfect their singing for the opera that will determine their future.
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About the Author
Yorker Keith lives in Manhattan, New York City. He loves literature, theatre, classical music, opera, and art. He holds an MFA in creative writing from The New School. His literary works have been recognized four times in the William Faulkner - William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition as a finalist or a semifinalist.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I love a good opera! This story takes off on a good note. But things begin to turn the other way for some of the characters. On page 153 I found out something interesting, yet a little sad too. And, with one of the couples, what happened to cause him to act differently toward her? He kept telling himself that he couldn't help it. At least, that is what he told himself to ease his own mind. But what about her heart? Will another couple find happiness, or poverty? Through the authors writing skills, some scenes showed anger, while other scenes showed sadness that I truly felt. I laughed along with some of the characters and felt happy for them; like their lives seemed to be taking on an actual opera scene with betrayal, selfishness, and loss that can cause many problems. An interesting, but also realistic read.
I found this novel fascinating. First, the structure of the novel follows that of opera. It begins with “Overture.” There are four “ACTs”; each ACT is followed by “Scene 1,” “Scene 2,” so on. There is even an “Intermezzo” in the latter part of Act III. ACT IV has two “Scenes”, and ends with “Finale.” The end of the novel is marked by “Curtain.” The narrative arc soars following this structure. Second, four main characters (named the Dolci Quattro) and most of supporting characters are opera singers, painters, fiction writer, poet, artists, singers, actors, who represent present-day bohemians, except for family members of the main characters. The premise of the novel is set in the rich artistic backdrop of New York City. The novel depicts the lives and loves of the Dolci Quattro, which goes up and down in joy and despair. The story is very romantic, moving, sometimes tragic, which makes readers rejoice, inspired, and cry. Third, the opera the Dolci Quattro perform is not Puccini’s famous La Bohème, but a nearly forgotten opera of the same title by Leoncavallo—known as “the other La Bohème.” Putting these three together, I felt, this novel itself represents a present-day La Bohème (“the other La Bohème”), cleverly crafted by the author. Once I started reading this novel, I could not put it away, enjoying every bit of it. For opera lovers, this is a must-read novel; they will certainly adore this novel. But even non-opera-goers will enjoy this novel. Highly recommended!
Reviewed by Gisela Dixon for Readers' Favorite The Other La Bohème by Yorker Keith is an intertwined story about the lives of four close friends set against the backdrop of the world of opera and theatre. The story begins with an introduction to the main protagonists around whom the story revolves: Henry, Stephanie, John, and Jennifer. These four friends are all pursuing careers in music, theatre, and opera in New York City and pledge to remain friends and support each other throughout their music careers, no matter what. As the story unfolds, the past meets the present as each reflects on their own experiences with life, relationships, love, and romance. Each of their individual stories comes together beautifully as they go through their ups and downs while still remaining true to who they are and their dreams. The Other La Bohème by Yorker Keith is an enjoyable read and would be particularly interesting to anyone associated with the world of drama, theatre, music, singing, and opera, especially on Broadway. Even to non-musicians, this is a fascinating glimpse into the inner workings of the field of theatre, and opera in particular, including the highs and lows, achievements and rivalries that go with it. I enjoyed the portrayals of the characters in the book and the writing is fluid and keeps moving at a steady pace. In the end, this is a book about human lives and relationships, and the backdrop of Manhattan and New York City Broadway theatre just makes it that much more interesting. I found this to be an entertaining read!
Reviewed by Tracy A. Fischer for Readers' Favorite In an excellent new book by author Yorker Keith, The Other La Bohème is a story that will grab readers from the very first pages and keep them obsessively reading all the way through until the very end. Delving into the cutthroat world of professional opera singers in New York City, the story focuses on four friends who met in music school; Jennifer (soprano), Stephanie (mezzo-soprano), Henry (tenor), and John (baritone). Determined to make it in opera, they band together to form a group called the Dolci Quattro, and work together towards success. Just as they are finding what they thought they wanted as they prepare to perform together in the nearly forgotten opera La Bohème by Leoncavallo, known as “the other La Bohème," their personal lives seem to be falling apart. Dealing with cheating fiancé, a potential divorce, family pressures and an inability to find love, the four seem to be at a point that they may have to give up their chances of personal happiness for their careers. Will they ever find happiness, both personally and professionally? You'll need to read the book to find out! I loved The Other La Bohème. Loved. It. How's that for a review? Well, it's definitely how I felt about this amazing new offering by author Yorker Keith. The author has done a fantastic job in creating characters that readers will connect with, relate to and truly come to care about. If that isn't a hallmark of a great author, I'm not sure what is. The author's ability in setting a scene is simply second to none, and readers will often feel as if they have simply slipped through the pages to the opera in New York at any given time. Any reader who is interested in a great work of literary fiction should absolutely give this book a read. I am so pleased to highly recommend The Other La Bohème and I look forward to reading more from author Yorker Keith as soon as possible!
Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite The Other La Bohème by Yorker Keith is aptly labeled literary fiction, an interesting story that explores the life and career of the Dolci Quattro. After their breathtaking performance of Puccini’s well-known opera, La Bohème, during their graduation, four friends form a band called the Dolci Quattro. Set in the very complex and rich backdrop of New York City, the Dolci Quattro pursues their dream and embraces a Bohemian lifestyle. But all is not sweet and easy. Readers will watch them as they fall in love, as they experience betrayal, and as they face obstacles and family challenges. What is it that keeps them together? Yorker Keith writes beautifully and those who love music, especially fans of La Bohème, will be smitten by this story as well as those who just enjoy the opera. The author shows great knowledge of music and writes confidently about it. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d not lived this experience personally. The writing is elegant, flowing like music, and polished. The plot is well-paced and the conflict developed around the career and the love experiences of the characters helps to give the entire story a strong dynamic. The characters are well-explored and I enjoyed the psychological depth of the story. One of the things I enjoyed about the book is how the author skillfully weaves elements of the original La Bohème into the story. The narrative is great and the prose so descriptive that it allows the reader to have a great feel for the characters. The Other La Bohème is, indeed, a real treat for music lovers.