Battling feelings of loss and apathy in the wake of a painful divorce, novelist Jeanette struggles to complete a book about the long-term relationship between Clara Schumann, a celebrated pianist and the wife of the composer Robert Schumann, and her husband's protege, the handsome young composer Johannes Brahms. Although this legendary love triangle has been studied exhaustively, Jeanetteherself a gifted pianistwonders about the enduring nature of Clara and Johannes's lifelong attachment. Were they just "best friends," as both steadfastly claimed? Or was the relationship complicated by desires that may or may not have been consummated?
Through a chance encounter, Jeanette meets Hart, a mysterious, worldly entrepreneur who is a native of Clara's birthplace, Leipzig, Germany. Hart's casual help with translations quickly blossoms into something more. There are things about men and women, he insists, that do not change. The two embark on a whirlwind emotional journey that leads Jeanette across Germany and Switzerland to a crossroads similar to that faced by Clara Schumannalso a mother, also an artistmore than a century earlier.
Accompanied by photographs, sketches, and notes from past and present, A. Manette Ansay's original blend of fiction and history captures the timeless nature of love and friendship between women and men.
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"Ansay's novel feels piddling and ordinary. We know exactly where Hart and Jeanette's relationship is going, and as a result, it's a strain to get there." - Publishers Weekly
"An ambitious attempt to combine intellectual concepts with the emotional energy of fiction, but in this case thought overpowers feeling." - Kirkus Reviews
""...Spare yet sumptuous, precise yet lavish, Ansay sifts historical fact through an admittedly autobiographical filter to deliver a richly textured study." - Booklist
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A. Manette Ansay grew up in Wisconsin among 67 cousins and over 200 second cousins. She is the author of six novels, including Good Things I Wish You, Vinegar Hill, an Oprah Book Club Selection, and Midnight Champagne, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, as well as a short story collection, Read This and Tell Me What It Says, and a memoir, Limbo. Her awards include a National Endowment for the Arts Grant, a Pushcart Prize, the Nelson Algren Prize, and two Great Lakes Book Awards. She lives with her daughter in Florida, where she teaches in the MFA program at the University of Miami.
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