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Aloha, Mozartby Waimea Williams
San Francisco Book Review ~ 5 Stars!
Maile Manoa, of German/Chinese/Hawaiian heritage, finds herself strangely drawn to the world of opera after hearing a smidgen of O Patria Mia from Verdi’s Aïda while in grade school. The depictions of her trials and triumphs are so vivid, you’re there with her as she struggles to find her place in the haole world, where she’ll always be an outsider. This is especially so in Salzburg, which was still probably 200 years behind the rest of the world. (In 1968, that is.)
The music portions are dead-on. I am convinced that Chapter 5 should be worth at least three lessons for an intermediate level student. It seems reasonable to think that von Wehrlen is patterned after Herbert von Karajan, the most notorious classical music conductor of his era. I was a music student in that time and clearly recall when he came to Detroit in 1955, and the riots generated by his visit. But – don’t let my emphasis on the music deter you from reading this fascinating and beautifully-written novel.
Reviewed by Kelly Ferjutz
A River So Longby Vallie Lynn Watson
Publishers Weekly ~ December 14, 2012 ~ Outstanding Review!
The untidy facts of heroine Veronica’s life are presented with cool detachment in Watson’s debut novel. As the story opens, Veronica’s honeymoon with her new husband in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, has come to an end, after which she returns to work as a commercial realtor in Phoenix. Her job and several extramarital affairs take her all over the country— to Memphis, New Orleans, Raleigh, New York, Wilmington, and points in between. Tellingly, unlike her husband, Veronica’s many extracurricular partners have both names—Enzo and Sears and Dylan and Van and Wes—and hints of personality. Watson captures moments and memories in beautifully economical, apt detail, but the question remains if readers who step back from this meticulously pointillist novel will see a complete picture or feel just as disoriented as Veronica.
All of us at Luminis Books wish you health, happiness and success in 2013! Enjoy your family and friends this holiday season and take pleasure in the small things as it is the everyday moments that add up to a lifetime of happiness.