Friday, August 07, 2009

Top ten musical novels

Joyce Hackett's fiction and non-fiction have appeared in publications including Harpers, The Paris Review, London Magazine, Boston Review, Prospect (UK), The Independent, Salon, and the Berlin Daily Der Tagespiegel.

Her first novel, Disturbance of the Inner Ear, won the 2003 the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for Fiction by an American Woman.

In 2003 she named a top 10 list of musical novels for the Guardian. One novel on the list:

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

Occasionally, after a few books, a writer gathers her bearings and hits pure, unalloyed ore. In this operatic novel, a group of international glitterati are taken hostage in a South American embassy by hapless terrorists. Trapped for weeks among them is a mega-soprano and her accompanist. As she practises day after day, her gorgeous singing shakes up everyone's assumptions about the identities they have formulated, and each person, hostage or captor, begins to find his or her best self. Under the spell of beautiful music, everyone becomes equal. Patchett's writing is spare, her spirit profoundly generous.
Read about another novel on the list.

Bel Canto also appears among Jessica Duchen's favorite works that express the power of music in words,

Joyce Hackett's website.

--Marshal Zeringue