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Comes to uestion his own faith In an unnamed country a composer records the folk songs of two women from a village on the brink of destruction These transporting deeply moving stories some inspired by her own family history amply demonstrate Makkai’s extraordinary range as a storyteller and confirm her as a master of the short story form “Richly imagined” Chicago Tribune   “Impressive” O The Oprah Magazine   “Engrossing” Minneapolis Star Tribune   “Inventive” W Magazine . The best short story collections contain a paradox while short in print length they can contain material of such complexity and meatiness thus reuiring effort on the part of a reader than novels of same size Such is the case here Usually there is at least one story that makes the eyes roll the impatience accelerate but not here Several of the stories do have music as an element but they are handled in such a way as to demonstrate an insider s intense knowledge of the art form as well as the life that goes with it Most of the other stories are based in the arts even tangentially with again an insider s observations Hard to know which I d choose as a favorite so I won t even try Interspersed between the longer stories are 2 3 page Legends family history that Makkai has included As this is the first of her books I ve read I m going to pick up her others

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Music for Wartime

Named a must read by the  Chicago Tribune O Magazine  BuzzFeed   The Huffington Post   Minneapolis Star Tribune  and  The L MagazineNamed one of the best short story collections of by Bookpage and Kansas City StarRebecca Makkai’s first two novels The Borrower and The Hundred Year House have established her as one of the freshest and most imaginative voices in fiction Now the award winning writer whose stories have appeared in four consecutive Music for MOBI #224 editions of The Best American S. I have already mentioned on GR probably a few too many times how I feel about short stories I am reluctant to read them am often happily surprised at how much I like some of them when I finally get round to reading them kick myself for being reluctant to read them and then want to read a novel by the author of the good short stories I have just read Which pretty much sums up my reaction to the stories in Music for Wartime Some of these stories are stunning and some are very good and some are ok but overall the collection was well worth reading Makkai is a great writer has a uirky sensibility and is surprisingly versatile in her use of characters settings and time frames I especially loved the title story told from the perspective of a young teenage boy whose parents immigrated from Roumania to the US in 1941 and who is driven to feel the losses his father suffered And I really liked The November Story which is told from the perspective of a woman who makes a reality tv show that is really uite far from reality Another favourite was Cross about a woman who returns home from being away for a few weeks to find a shrine to a dead motorcyclist on her front lawn And to emphasize how versatile Makkai s talent is I also really liked Couple of Lovers on a Red Background in which the narrator recounts her encounter with Bach who appeared in her apartment in New York a year or so after 911 surreal but worked really well There were a couple of stories that fell flat for me but I suppose that s the benefit of short stories they were uickly over and I was on to a better story And now that I ve finished Makkai s stories I really want to read her two novels Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read advance copy

Rebecca Makkai ä 9 review

Hort Stories returns with a highly anticipated collection bearing her signature mix of intelligence wit and heart A reality show producer manipulates two contestants into falling in love even as her own relationship falls apart Just after the fall of the Berlin Wall a young boy has a revelation about his father’s past when a renowned Romanian violinist plays a concert in their home When the prized elephant of a traveling circus keels over dead the small town minister tasked with burying its remains. More than 4 stars not uite 45how about 425 starsFull disclosure I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased reviewA reality show producer A cellist dealing with the presence of a growing shrine on her property A minister in a town plagued by weather related issues A college professor for whom nothing seems to be going right These are just a few of the characters in Rebecca Makkai s wonderful and intriguing new story collection Music for WartimeMakkai is a tremendously talented author her first book The Borrower was among my favorite books of 2011 I found her storytelling ability dazzling particularly how she created such memorable characters That talent was in full bloom in Music for Wartime which juxtaposes a few stories with Holocaust related themes or characters with other stories chronicling not uite everyday human struggles and foiblesWhile not every story of the 17 in the collection worked for me I was moved and captivated by a large number of them My favorites included Cross in which a cellist must deal with a growing shrine to an accident victim that is on her property as well as her feelings about growing older The Museum of the Dearly Departed which chronicles a woman s struggles to come to terms with the death of her fianc among other revelations Painted Ocean Painted Ship a story about how what we perceive isn t always accurate Good Saint Anthony Come Around which chronicled the relationship between two artists as told by another member of their circle The Miracle Years of Little Fork about a small town minister dealing with his town s struggles and his own emotional challenges and The Worst You Ever Feel which told the story of a young boy captivated by a concert given by a famed Romanian violinist and the revelations the boy has about the lives of the violinist and his own fatherFor someone who didn t like to read short stories about 20 years ago I have been fortunate to come across some tremendously beautiful and memorable stories I d definitely include some of the stories in Makkai s new collection among some of my favorites While the book as a whole isn t perfect it is still a fantastic example of her storytelling ability and you ll find yourself thinking about some of these characters long after you ve finishedSee all of my reviews at


10 thoughts on “Music for Wartime

  1. says:

    I have already mentioned on GR probably a few too many times how I feel about short stories I am reluctant to read them am often happily surprised at how much I like some of them when I finally get round to reading them kick myself for being reluctant to read them and then want to read a novel by the author of the good

  2. says:

    second story The worst you ever feel A young violinist watching a master play after years in a Romanian prison is able to tell from the music what the man went through uite goodThird story November A reality show where the contestants are all artists of some kind All sent to an artist's colony to live together Every week

  3. says:

    There are only two types of stories in this splendid collection Great ones And outstanding ones Truly there is not a clunker in the batchTypically in reviewing a short story collection I start out with my favorites But I’d be hard put to choose from among 17 stories including some short shorts inspired by Rebecca Makkai’s own colorful family history Among the most memorable for me “Couple of Lovers On A Red Background” whi

  4. says:

    Review originally published at Learn This PhraseI read Rebecca Makkai's second novel The Hundred Year House last year and was really impressed This collection of short stories has only confirmed my faith in her talent although it's slightly patchy some of them are spectacularI'll start with 'The November Story' because I thought it was absolutely perfect It's about a woman who's working on the production team of a reality TV show something

  5. says:

    More than 4 stars not uite 45how about 425 stars?Full disclosure I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased reviewA reality show producer A cellist dealing with the presence of a growing shrine on her property A minister in a town plagued by weather related issues A college professor for whom

  6. says:

    Late to the party on this brilliant collection and new to this acclaimed author's writing Now I see what all the buzz is about I read her stories in awe knowing I will never be able to match her ability to conceive such layered rich stories Of the 17 stories in this book I only skimmed one of them I was entranced by the re

  7. says:

    475 stars A beautiful collection of short stories loosely tied together by themes of loss and sadness I'll be thinking about some of these stories for a long time

  8. says:

    I received a copy of this from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest reviewI read one of Makkai's novels The Borrower previously and I think I can say I enjoyed these short stories I liked the themes of music and war moving throughout them without the pressure to connect them otherwise Some of the stories are very short 2 3 pages while others are longerSome favorites The Worst You Ever Feel a little

  9. says:

    The best short story collections contain a paradox while short in print length they can contain material of such complexity and meatiness thus reuiring effort on the part of a reader than novels of same size Such is the case here Usually ther

  10. says:

    Makkai is a fabulous writer and though I loved both of her novels this short story collection is my favorite book by her Obviously with any collection there will be stories that resonate than others but a couple o