American Music -

Jane Mendelsohn

Published by Blackstone Audio
ISBN 10: 1441755233 / ISBN 13: 9781441755230
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Synopsis: From the author of I Was Amelia Earhart comes this luminous love story that winds through several generations--told in Jane Mendelsohn's distinctive, mesmerizing style.

Milo, severely wounded in the Iraq war, is confined to a rehabilitation hospital. When his physical therapist, Honor, touches his destroyed back, mysterious images from the past appear to them and begin to weave together in an intricate, mysterious tapestry of stories. There is a husband and wife in the 1930s, whose marriage is tested by a bewitching artistic cousin. There is the heartrending story of a photographer in the 1960s and the shocking theft of her life's work. And there is a eunuch and a sultan's concubine, whose forbidden love is captured in music. The stories converge in a symphonic crescendo that reveals the far-flung origins of America's endlessly romantic soul and exposes the source of Honor and Milo's own love. A beautiful mystery and a meditation on love--its power and limitations--American Music is a brilliantly original novel.

Review: Jane Mendelsohn on American Music

The first moment of inspiration for American Music came in 1996 when I learned the remarkable fact that there was a secret formula for making cymbals. I was in Maine for a reading of my first novel, I Was Amelia Earhart, visiting with a writer friend and her husband. He is a member of the Zildjian family, the same family that has been making cymbals for centuries. I was fascinated by his story on many levels: the idea of a secret formula, the family history dating back to 17th century Turkey, the resonance and romance of music through the ages, and my own fantasy that there might be a secret formula for making symbols too.

I immediately envisioned a story about a woman searching for this formula, desperately, somewhat pointlessly but also movingly, as if it were the secret to life itself. I pictured her trying to work through a loss by realizing the simultaneity of all things, that memories, like symbols, and the sound of cymbals, contain all time. That idea changed over the years, but essentially remained a deep part of the book.

A while later, I heard from a friend who does bodywork about a man who refused to lie on his back. I began imagining a tale about why he wouldn't and started thinking of a character who was a soldier. The two ideas: the secret formula for making cymbals and the soldier with his mysterious reason for not lying on his back simmered in my mind as I started researching.

When I read about the history of cymbals, I was struck that these instruments developed in 17th century Turkey by an Armenian alchemist were so central to American music. I read about jazz and learned that it was the shift to leading the beat with the cymbals instead of the drums that marked the beginning of swing. It interested me that such a quintessentially American art form could be traced so clearly to a moment in time so distant and different from America in the 1930's, which was when swing began. And I was also struck that Istanbul in 1623 was a place of cosmopolitanism, a vibrant melting pot of cultures.

I was at this point in my thinking about the book, and living in New York City, when 9/11 occurred. That I had been writing about Islamic culture and its relation to 20th century America felt uncanny. And when we went to war, the fact that I had been writing about a soldier felt uncomfortable. I put the book away for a while. My daughter was two, and not long after, I had another baby.

But I could not stop thinking about cymbals and about the soldier. I worked on the book in my head while I pushed my daughters on the swings in Washington Square Park, the destruction at ground zero so close but at the same time, in the playground, seemingly very far away.

Eventually, the strands I had been working on came together, found each other in a way, in one larger narrative about families and love stories and the world that goes on while war is happening someplace else. Of course I am still searching for that secret formula.

(Photo © Nick Davis)

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Title: American Music -
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
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Book Description Blackstone Audiobooks, 2010. CD-Audio. Condition: New. Unabridged. Language: English . Brand New. This luminous love story centers on Milo, a severely wounded veteran of the Iraq war confined to a rehabilitation hospital, and Honor, his physical therapist. When Honor touches Milo s destroyed back, mysterious images from the past appear to each of them, puzzling her and shaking him to the core. As Milo s treatment progresses, the images begin to weave together in an intricate, mysterious tapestry of stories winding through several generations. There are Joe and Pearl, a husband and wife in the 1930s, whose marriage is tested by Pearl s bewitching artistic cousin, Vivian; the heartrending story of a woman photographer in the 1960s and the shocking theft of her life s work; and the story of a man and woman in seventeenth-century Turkey--a eunuch and a sultan s concubine--whose forbidden love is captured in music. The stories converge in a symphonic crescendo that reveals the far-flung origins of America s endlessly romantic soul and exposes the source of Honor and Milo s own love. A beautiful mystery and a meditation on the powers and limitations of love, American Music is a brilliantly original novel told in Jane Mendelsohn s distinctive, mesmerizing style. Seller Inventory # AAS9781441755230

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Book Description Blackstone Audiobooks, 2010. CD-Audio. Condition: New. Unabridged. Language: English . Brand New. This luminous love story centers on Milo, a severely wounded veteran of the Iraq war confined to a rehabilitation hospital, and Honor, his physical therapist. When Honor touches Milo s destroyed back, mysterious images from the past appear to each of them, puzzling her and shaking him to the core. As Milo s treatment progresses, the images begin to weave together in an intricate, mysterious tapestry of stories winding through several generations. There are Joe and Pearl, a husband and wife in the 1930s, whose marriage is tested by Pearl s bewitching artistic cousin, Vivian; the heartrending story of a woman photographer in the 1960s and the shocking theft of her life s work; and the story of a man and woman in seventeenth-century Turkey--a eunuch and a sultan s concubine--whose forbidden love is captured in music. The stories converge in a symphonic crescendo that reveals the far-flung origins of America s endlessly romantic soul and exposes the source of Honor and Milo s own love. A beautiful mystery and a meditation on the powers and limitations of love, American Music is a brilliantly original novel told in Jane Mendelsohn s distinctive, mesmerizing style. Seller Inventory # AAS9781441755230

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Book Description MP3 CD. Condition: New. MP3 CD. From the author of I Was Amelia Earhart comes this luminous love story that winds through several generationstold in Jane Mendelsohns distinctive, mesmerizing style.Shipping may be from our Sydney, NSW warehouse or from our UK or US warehouse, depending on stock availability. 0.077. Seller Inventory # 9781441755230

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