Resonating Bodies

Lynne Alexander, Author Scribner Book Company $18.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-689-12039-8
Narrated in alternating chapters by elderly British musician Nicholas Jordan and his beloved viola de gamba called Rose, Alexander's second novel is an audacious tour de force. Having bestowed his beloved instrument on his daughter, Nicholas sits in Ver sailles's Hall of Mirrors listening to a concert in which the viola seems to sing to him alone. As Rose's voice swells and ebbs like the baroque music she creates, she recalls the artists, composers and politicians who figured in the vicissitudes of her dramatic life. Beginning in 1670 when she was fashioned, Rose was played by famous masters, endangered during the French Revolution (and lost for a time), drastically and almost fatally redesigned and, finally, rescued by Nicholas, who recognized her worth. Meanwhile, Nicholas ruminates on his lifelong obsession with Rose, evoking in sensuous terms a relationship that bordered on human--one of passion and intelligent communication. Perfectly attuned, the two protagonists' ``conversation'' ranges over musical history and human relationships with equal effect. Alexander was a professional harpsichordist before she segued into writing. This impressively executed novel confirms the talent evinced in Alexander's first novel, Safe Houses . (May)
Reviewed on: 04/30/1989
Release date: 05/01/1989
Genre: Nonfiction
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