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Solo Variations takes you backstage into the glamorous, demanding world of the performing arts, and into the very soul of a young, struggling artist. Twenty-six-year-old Gala, a classically trained oboist, has both the schooling and the talent to excel at her art, yet finds herself incapacitated by fright at every audition. As her friends and boyfriend begin to make their rise in the field, she is left behind, her loneliness and anxiety enveloping her.
Frozen, Gala turns to her family for support, but after years of bitterness and feuding her parents have announced their divorce and are pressuring her to decide between them. Her own love life unraveling as well, Gala is granted the strange freedom of one who has nothing left to lose. She begins an affair that introduces a choice that will redefine the course of her life. Solo Variations tells a moving story about the perils of artistic ambition, the fragility of desire, and the ambiguity of love.
"Moving and beautifully written... Painful in its accuracy and intelligence, this novel establishes Cassandra Garbus as a writer to watch." --Erica Jong
"A smashing first novel...the narrative brims with all the excitement of a world-class symphony tuning up before a big concert." --Baltimore Sun
"Gala is a heroine with a first-rate mind and a fine heart." --Susan Isaacs
"A compelling debut...a vividly realistic examination of love and promises broken." --Kirkus Reviews
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Cassandra Garbus graduated from the New York University Creative Writing Program. As a freelance musician, she has played in numerous New York City chamber ensembles. She lives in New York City and teaches literature and creative writing at the City University of New York.From Kirkus Reviews:
A promising first novel, ostensibly about the struggles inherent in a musician's life, though more pointedly suggesting the far greater struggles intrinsic to modern relationships. Twenty-six-year-old Gala's life has been enveloped by music: lessons at six, a performing-arts high school, and, finally, graduation from Juilliard. As a dedicated oboist, she has lived in the joy of music, but now her happiness and determination dwindle each day as failed orchestral auditions leave her questioning her gift. Performance anxiety grips her, and each attempt on stage becomes more unbearable. Perhaps even more anxiety-producing is the disintegration of her parents' volatile marriage. Her father, a brilliant, manic-depressive historian at Columbia, and her mother, a suicidal has-been pianist, use Gala in their war against each other, burdening her with their secrets, challenging her loyalty. In fact, the two are so compelling, emotional, and passionate that they occasionally overshadow interest in the narrator herself. The story is strongest in exploring the impossibilities of a child parenting her parents, when real tension infuses the plot--the three are unstable enough that anything might happen. But this is not all Gala faces: Not only has her boyfriend, Tom, just won a plum role as violinist in a renowned quartet, but her best friend is surpassing her in their endless rounds of auditions. The strain of her parents' break-up, her mother's desperation, her father's new lover (who may not, it emerges, be so new after all) force Gala to question the fate of her own relationship, and, even more unsettling, her future as a musician. A brief affair confuses issues further, and the storyline becomes labored--though its ending, in which Garbus offers some unexpected (and unconventional) resolutions of these various dilemmas, recaptures the intensity of the early passages. Music may be the motif, but, altogether, it's the vividly realistic examination of love and promises broken that make this a compelling debut. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description Plume, 1999. Mass Market Paperback. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0452279003
Book Description Plume, 1999. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0452279003