by Daphne Kalotay
published by Harper Collins
I received this book through Goodreads Giveaway program in return for an honest review.
On a Boston street one warm spring day after a long New England winter, Hazel and Remy spot each other for the first time in years. Under ordinary circumstances, this meeting might seem insignificant. But Remy, a gifted violinist, is married to the composer Nicholas Elko-once the love of Hazel’s life.
It has been twenty years since Remy, a conservatory student whose ambition may outstrip her talent; Nicholas, a wunderkind suddenly struggling with a masterwork he cannot fully realize; and his wife, beautiful and fragile Hazel, first came together and tipped their collective world on its axis. Over the decades, each has buried disappointments and betrayals that now threaten to undermine their happiness. But as their entwined stories unfold from 1987 to 2007, from Europe to America, from conservatory life to the Boston Symphony Orchestra, each will discover the surprising ways in which the quest to create something real and true–be it a work of art or one’s own life–can lead to the most personal of revelations, including the unearthing of secrets we keep, even from ourselves.
Lyrical and evocative, Sight Reading is ultimately an exploration of what makes a family, of the importance of art in daily life, and of the role of intuition in both the creative process and the evolution of the self. (from Goodreads)
I received this book through Goodreads (thank you!)
Sight Reading is a lyrical well written story that follows Hazel, Nicholas, and Remy. Through these well defined characters, we see the marriage of Nicholas and his beautiful wife Hazel end, when he falls in love with his young conservatory student/colleague Remy. Hazel struggles terribly to come to terms with her new life and the accompanying loneliness she feels. “For a moment, Hazel thought she might burst into tears. Sometimes things were hard, she reminded herself, that’s all: being told you were unable to be with, it was just a bit hard, especially when she wanted so badly for things to work out, and thought they might, thought there might be a joy for her that was something beyond herself. ”
Hazel is confronted with the seemingly happy marriage of Nicholas and Remy throughout the book, as the three of them co-parent their daughter Jessie. As Hazel eventually transforms from despair to contentment, and then true happiness, Nicholas and Remy’s lives suffer sadness and disappointment. The fate of their marriage looks bleak, until Nicholas’ composition shows Remy what she really means to him.
“Just a little string of notes. But to Remy they were a secret message just for her. She saw that now, as she began to play the solo section of the final movement. With each stroke of her bow she felt Nicholas’ love course through her, immense and many colored, nothing he could have put into words, nothing he could speak aloud.”
The author has written a beautiful story that gives the reader a glimpse into the world of classical music. I did not feel overwhelmed by the descriptions of music, despite the fact that I have very little knowledge of the subject. I especially enjoyed Remy’s journey through her musical life.
“The thought came to her, clearly, as she crossed Boylston Street. Her dedication to her violin meant she could love something complicated and demanding and extremely difficult, and that she could do so with enthusiasm and without resentment. It meant that she knew what devotion was, and commitment, and the sublime satisfaction of working hard at something until she accomplished it. She knew how it felt to achieve what at times seemed like miracles; she had witnessed beauty that left her speechless. She had known amazement up close, knew the glorious things this world held for anyone who chose to stop and listen.”
I would recommend this book. It was very well written and beautifully descriptive.
4 out of 5