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The Savior: A Novel by Eugene Drucker

The Savior: A Novel

by Eugene Drucker

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Violinist Eugene Drucker, a member of the Emerson String Quartet, shows himself to also be a gifted writer in his 2007 novel "The Savior." In an imaginative story set during the closing days of World War II, a young German violinist named Gottfried Keller, who somehow has managed to avoid being forced into the army and sent to the front, entertains wounded soldiers in military hospitals. He hates it and so, in fact, do most of the soldiers compelled to listen to classical music.

Then one day Keller is given an even more disagreeable order. He is sent to a Nazi labor camp to play for Jewish prisoners who have been worked nearly to the point of death. The camp's kommandant, supposedly in the name of science, wants to see whether Keller's music, performed over a series of days, can restore hope and meaning to the lives of these people.

Keller soon begins to wonder whether he, too, has become a prisoner in the camp. He wonders whether those in power have found out about his relationships with two Jews before the war, a man who was a close friend and a woman he planned to marry. Will these few prisoners he plays for be spared? Or will they be killed and he along with them?

Just as the novel begins to seem predictable, Drucker throws in some surprises. How does the power of music manifest itself in the story? Who is "the savior" of the title? Discovering the answers to these questions makes for a rewarding reading experience. ( )
  hardlyhardy | Sep 4, 2013 |
Keller is a violinist unable to fight fo his country because of a weak heart. He is performing for soldiers who are convalescing in hospitals. But one day he is picked up by the SS and delivered to a concentration camp and asked to be part of an experiment. Can classical music revive the spirits of a select group of concentration camp victims? Keller agrees to this plan aware that he really has no choice. This story is combined with interludes from Keller's past - his growing closeness and developing romantic interest in Marietta a fellow musician and a Jew. Keller plays his music to the prisoners hoping he can save them but not all of them want to be saved. There is also the character of Rudi a guard who loves classical music, and has very mixed feelings about the Jew and what he is doing there. Keller sooon discovers what is happening at the camp but has no choice but to keep playing and what happens at the end of the concert has devastating consequences for both him and his audience. ( )
  kiwifortyniner | Dec 23, 2008 |
Holocaust literature is meant to make us feel uncomfortable; "The Savior" does that. What makes this more interesting than most is how Drucker (member of the Emerson Quartet) describes the music performed by the main character. In some ways, it is unfortunate the book is not bundled with audio files of the violin sonatas described. ( )
  kewing | Oct 31, 2007 |
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Ordered to perform for the inmates of a local concentration camp, Gottfried Keller begins to realize the extent of his country's crimes--and his own culpability in them.

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