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The Time of Our Singing (2003)
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312422180, Paperback)In some respects, Richard Powers's The Time of Our Singing is just a big, absorbing drama about an American family, with the typical ingredients of an immigrant parent and some social obstacles--in this case, a biracial marriage in the Civil Rights era--to be overcome by the talented children. But Powers's lyrical gifts lift this material far above its familiar subject matter. His descriptions of music alone will transport the reader. The Strom family were raised with this common language: "Our parents' Crazed Quotations game played on the notion that every moment's tune had all history's music box for its counterpoint. On any evening in Hamilton Heights, we could jump from organum to atonality without any hint of all the centuries that had died fiery deaths between them." The central figure of this novel is the dazzling Jonah, who makes a life from singing, and who may be the only person around him who regards his racial heritage as irrelevant to his ambitions. Powers's is such a fertile writer, however, that he can't stay with any single story, but plunges into pages and pages of family and social histories. The result is a rambling, resonant, fearless novel that pulls the reader along in its wake. --Regina Marler
(retrieved from Amazon Fri, 04 Jan 2013 09:24:38 -0500)
"On Easter Day, 1939, at Marian Anderson's epochal concert on the Washington Mall, David Strom, a German Jewish emigre scientist, meets Delia Daley, a young Philadelphia Negro studying to be a concert singer. Their mutual love of music draws them together, and - against all odds, advice, and better judgment - they marry. They vow to raise their offspring beyond time, beyond race, beyond belonging, steeped in song. But their three children, the unwitting subjects of this experiment, must survive America's brutal here and now." "Jonah, Joseph and Ruth grow up during the early Civil Rights era, come of age in the riot-torn 1960s, and live out their adulthoods through the racially retrenched late century. Jonah, the eldest, "whose voice could make heads of state repent, " pursues a life devoted to his parents' beloved classical music. Ruth, the youngest, chooses a path of militant activism and repudiates the white culture her brother represents. Joseph, the middle child and the narrator of this far-ranging, multigenerational tale, struggles to remain loyal to both siblings. As a polarized America threatens to tear the family apart, only their deep, shared love of song stands any hope of preserving them."--BOOK JACKET.
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