Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Cello Player

I think this book officially ends the 2010 foreign author experiment. Well, it and another one I could not finish (Mike Gayle's My Legendary Girlfriend).

I really didn't think this book was bad but I may be alone in that regard. While reading it I came across two bookmarks that previous readers had left when they abandoned the book. Also, at the end, many of the pages were either stuck or had not been cut when the book was published. So it is possible that I was the first reader of that copy to have ever finished it.

The Cello Player isn't really about a cello player. It's about a composer. One day this girl in her twenties who is the daughter of a former lover of his shows up and proceeds to live with him. It's possible it could be his daughter. He's not sure, he's too afraid to ask, when he finally asks his former lover she does not give him any sort of reply. To make it all a little weirder, there are suggestions of romantic and possibly sexual relationships between the composer and the young woman. But all of this is a sidebar to the actual story.

The actual story is a philosophical and political view of music in Eastern Europe. It's mostly the composer character ruminating about how his life has changed, how music has changed, and how confusing everything is. The book is terribly dry and dull but is saved by the occasional great thought or turn of phrase. They came along frequently enough that I was able to plod through to the end of the book.

I did enjoy learning about the Eastern European music scene as told by this novel. Since it is a novel, who knows if it is true. It would sort of be like a German reading a novel about a musician at Woodstock. You could get a sense of the times but would have to take it all with a grain of salt. Just not worth recommending.

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