by Maria Thompson Corley
Although this was more than I was anticipating and slightly more of a directive than I thought, what I can’t deny is the fact that as far as a body of work goes this is as good as any I have read in a very long time.
The story revolves around Cecile, an immensely talented woman, studying in the primarily white domain that is the Classical piano program at the world-famous Juilliard. Now this is no place for someone with little expectation, and Cecile certainly doesn’t lack in either talent or aspiration because she is far from your run of the mill pianist, from a staunchly middle class background, she is not only witty but has more than enough sass to not only stand her ground but to also stand out.
I loved the fact the author was able to use a palette of diversity in the story, she didn’t allow ethnicity to be a determining factor, she injected enough characterisation into the story that the nationality of the character quickly became irrelevant ( well to me it did.) but she also creatively gave due respect to the day to day effects that the scourge of racism has, not only on the individual but also on society, she didn’t sugar coat things but kept the story at settings very real and that in turn allowed for the reactions to be realistic.
I thought that is style of writing meant that I was able to get a rounded view of those involved and as such I was able to form my own informed opinions and make up my own mind as to whether or not the characters were ones that I could not only take on board but trust.
As fabulous as Cecile was, the author didn’t just create one stand out character in this story, no she also gave us Langston and while he may have been slightly more subdued that Cecile, a little more reflective I found him completely fascinating, I think I would like to read his story.
Full of classical annotations and peppered with musical mentions, this is an intellectually stimulating read in so many way.
A cleverly engaging read which shows not only the characters but also the author in the best possible light.