cover image My Interview with Beethoven

My Interview with Beethoven

L.A. Hider Jones. CreateSpace, $17.99 trade paper (378p) ISBN 978-1-5352-0142-1

Jones’s vivid debut follows a young man from Virginia on his quest to meet with Ludwig van Beethoven. In 1815 Williamsburg, Va., 11-year-old George Thompson is distressed when his stepfather, Robert, commits his mother to an insane asylum after learning she was not a pregnant widow when they married as she’d claimed, but had instead become pregnant after having an affair with Beethoven. Robert then renounces George as a son, and sends him to apprentice with a printer. The story jumps forward a decade to find George, now 23 and a newspaper reporter, planning a trip to Europe to interview the “Lion of Vienna.” His motivation as a journalist pales in comparison to his desire to meet the man he believes to be his biological father. After being warned away by a number of people, George finally manages to meet Beethoven for the interview. The ardent, sentimental George pries mesmerizing stories of love and music from the composer, as Jones shifts to Beethoven’s life via well-crafted flashbacks. While the prose is clunky (“the sleepiness in his head tried to make sense of the noise”), Jones convincingly fills out George’s emotional arc, from the tale’s somber opening to its optimistic close. Jones hits the mark with this strong historical tale. (Self-published)