Dmitri Esterhaats

Russell Hardin, Author . Wings $18.95 (311p) ISBN 978-0-916727-27-7

Hardin, best known as a New York University political theorist (Indeterminacy and Society ) checks in with his third work of fiction, a grounded look at New York's postwar classical music world. Dmitri Esterhaats, half-Jewish with a paternal Hungarian grandfather, has gone from precocious child pianist in Lenin-era Kiev to refugee-in-hiding with his Menshevik parents in Amsterdam to teenage New York immigrant in the 1930s. By 16, he's accompanying Sofia Milano, a soprano of uncertain age who initiates him into performance, musically and otherwise. After their long international tour (which ends acrimoniously), Dmitri is drafted into WWII, where he becomes a personal musician to a music-loving colonel. At 30, his uncompromising nature, high standards and extreme reticence eventually bring him to a beautiful Hungarian woman, Jelly Ujfalussy, and to violinist Linda Ney, who is as intense as he. What Hardin is after is immigrant relationships forged in the competitive furnace of postwar American classical music performance. A love of classical music is required to understand in depth all of what takes place, Dmitri is little more than a cipher, and some of the dialogue is joltingly stock. But Dmitri serves nicely as a medium for Hardin's passionate imaginings of a microculture in flux. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/19/2007
Release date: 04/01/2007
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