The Prague Sonata: Book summary and reviews of The Prague Sonata by Bradford Morrow

The Prague Sonata

by Bradford Morrow

The Prague Sonata by Bradford Morrow
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published in USA  Oct 2017
    528 pages
    Genre: Novels

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

From the critically acclaimed author Bradford Morrow, a literary quest novel that travels from Nazi-occupied Prague to turn-of-the-millennium New York as a young musicologist seeks to solve the mystery behind an eighteenth-century sonata manuscript.

Music and war, war and music - these are the twin motifs around which Bradford Morrow, recipient of the Academy Award in Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, has composed his magnum opus, The Prague Sonata, a novel more than a dozen years in the making.

In the early days of the new millennium, pages of a worn and weathered original sonata manuscript - the gift of a Czech immigrant living out her final days in Queens - come into the hands of Meta Taverner, a young musicologist whose concert piano career was cut short by an injury. To Meta's eye, it appears to be an authentic eighteenth-century work; to her discerning ear, the music rendered there is commanding, hauntingly beautiful, clearly the undiscovered composition of a master. But there is no indication of who the composer might be. The gift comes with the request that Meta attempt to find the manuscript's true owner, a Prague friend the old woman has not heard from since the Second World War forced them apart, and to make the three-part sonata whole again. Leaving New York behind for the land of Dvorák and Kafka, Meta sets out on an unforgettable search to locate the remaining movements of the sonata and uncover a story that has influenced the course of many lives, even as it becomes clear that she isn't the only one after the music's secrets.

Magisterially evoking decades of Prague's tragic and triumphant history, from the First World War through the soaring days of the Velvet Revolution, and moving from postwar London to the heartland of immigrant America, The Prague Sonata is both epic and intimate, evoking the ways in which individual notes of love and sacrifice become part of the celebratory symphony of life.

Read a Sample

Click to the right or left of the sample to turn the page.
(If no book jacket appears in a few seconds, then we don't have an excerpt of this book or your browser is unable to display it)

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. [A] textured, style-rich historical novel ... enjoyable for anyone who loves a symphony of words." - Booklist

"Music infuses Morrow's descriptions of war, revolution, peace, love, friendship, and betrayal. Finely crafted storytelling ... The reading pleasure comes from both Meta's pursuit and the prose, which brims with musical, historical, and cultural detail." - Publishers Weekly

"An elegant foray into music and memory." - Kirkus

"A big, fun, page-turning rush of a novel, with Bard professor Morrow (The Forgers) writing wonderfully about music (Meta isn't just a classicist but a metalhead, too)." - Library Journal

"Bradford Morrow is an astonishing writer. His short fictions are brilliantly macabre, and his longer fictions are epic adventures in which obsessive particularities - in this case the provenance of a piano sonata presumed to be of the late 18th century - transform entire lives in the most unexpected and remarkable ways. " - Joyce Carol Oates

"The Prague Sonata is music scored for the reader's imagination, expertly arranged - at once suspenseful and meditative, classical and surprising, devastating and genuinely inspiring... Bradford Morrow's writing is as haunting and as beautiful as the fabled sonata it describes." - Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!

"The Prague Sonata is a treasure of a novel, a deliciously enveloping musical mystery which I read with marvel and gusto. ... I'm absolutely bowled over by Morrow's ability to use dialogue, which seems to steer the novel so effortlessly. A virtuoso performance!" - Diane Ackerman, author of The Zookeeper's Wife

"The Prague Sonata is a mighty, epic novel that only Bradford Morrow could have written...The Prague Sonata challenges us to consider what it means to save culture in the face of forces that want to achieve power at its expense. Morrow has given us a masterful novel that's necessary for our times." - Brian Evenson, author of The Open Curtain

"This rich, masterful novel brilliantly explores the complex tumble of history, the human capacity for good and for evil, the fragile but redeeming glory of art. Morrow has long been one of America's finest novelists. And this humanely epic tale is his finest book." - Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Perfume River

"Bradford Morrow has written his masterpiece. The Prague Sonata is a rich, joyous, complex journey into the city of Prague, the claims made upon us by music, and several dark, dark corners of human experience." - Peter Straub, author of Interior Darkness: Selected Stories

The information about The Prague Sonata shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Author Information

Bradford Morrow Author Biography

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Bradford Morrow grew up in Denver, Colorado, and has lived or worked in a variety of places. As a teenager, he traveled through rural Honduras as a member of the Amigos de las Americas program, serving as a medical volunteer in the summer of 1967. The following year he was awarded an American Field Service scholarship to finish his last year of high school as a foreign exchange student at a Liceo Scientifico in Cuneo, Italy. In 1973, he took time off from studying at the University of Colorado to live in Paris for a year. After doing graduate work at Yale University, he moved to Santa Barbara, California where he worked as a bookseller until relocating to New York City in 1981, where he founded the literary journal Conjunctions and began writing novels. ...

... Full Biography
Author Interview
Link to Bradford Morrow's Website

Other books by Bradford Morrow at BookBrowse
  • The Inevitable jacket

5 more...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more novels...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Blind
    The Blind
    by A.F. Brady
    In The Blind, A. F. Brady, a licensed psychotherapist, takes readers inside a residential ...
  • Book Jacket: The Rules of Magic
    The Rules of Magic
    by Alice Hoffman
    Alice Hoffman's Rules of Magic is the long-awaited prequel to one of her most cherished novels,...
  • Book Jacket: Good Me Bad Me
    Good Me Bad Me
    by Ali Land
    Is a psychopath born or made? This is the terrifying question that author Ali Land explores in her ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
To Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin

This love story set against the construction of the Eiffel Tower is "vibrant and transportive." (Bustle)

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Never Coming Back
    by Alison McGhee

    A moving exploration of growing up and growing old, and the ties that bind parents and children.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Wisdom of Sundays

The Wisdom of Sundays
by Oprah Winfrey

Life-changing insights from super soul conversations.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

A Good M I H T F

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.