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Cokesbury

The Time of Our Singing

  • By Richard Powers
$17.29
($24.00)
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 singer. Their mutual love of music draws them together, and--against all odds and better judgment--they marry. They vow to raise their children beyond time, beyond identity, steeped only in song. Jonah, Joseph, and Ruth grow up, however, during the Civil Rights era, coming of age in the violent 1960s, and living out adulthood in the racially retrenched late century. Jonah, the eldest, "whose voice could make heads of state repent," follows a life in his parents' beloved classical music. Ruth, the youngest, devotes herself to community activism and repudiates the white culture her brother represents. Joseph, the middle child and the narrator of this generation-bridging tale, struggles to find himself and remain connected to them both.
Richard Powers is the author of ten novels, including "Generosity," "Gain," "The Time of Our Singing," "Galatea 2.2," and "Plowing the Dark." "The Echo Maker "won the National Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Powers has received a MacArthur Fellowship and a Lannan Literary Award. He lives in Illinois. National Book Critics Circle Award Nominee
A "New York Times" Notable Book
A "Chicago Tribune" Best Book
A "San Francisco Chronicle" Best Book
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.
Set against the sweeping backdrop of contemporary American history, "The Time of Our Singing" is nevertheless deeply personal and intimate. In telling the story of his quintessentially American family, Joseph Strom spins a heartrending tale of self-invention, allegiance, race, hope, the power of music, and the tangled loops of time that rewrite all identity.
Over the course of seven previous novels, Richard Powers has earned a reputation for being the most prodigiously gifted writer of his generation, and "The Time of Our Singing" is surely his masterpiece.
" Themes] collide through this] novel with the potency and flash of subatomic particles in an accelerator. Music is one. Perhaps not since Thomas Mann's "Doctor Faustus" has a novelist conveyed so tangibly and exaltedly the mechanism and the aesthetic effect in musical performance, and the relation between them. Another is the restless dimensions of time, both in post-relativity physics and in human consciousness: speeding, slowing, circling back, and standing still . . . Powers] is unmatched among our first-rank novelists in connecting the new ambiguities of scientific theory to the old relativities of the heart . . . The novel is] prodigious, illuminating, and exhilarating."--Richard Eder, "The New York Times"
"One of the best novels ever written about race in America as well as] one of the best written about the joys of music."--"Newsday"
"Powers is one of our most lavishly gifted writers and] "The Time of Our Singing" rewards on many levels."--Sven Birkerts, "The New Yorker"
" Themes] collide through this] novel with the potency and flash of subatomic particles in an accelerator. Music is one. Perhaps not since Thomas Mann's "Doctor Faustus" has a novelist conveyed so tangibly and exaltedly the mechanism and the aesthetic effect in musical performance, and the relation between them. Another is the restless dimensions of time, both in post-relativity physics and in human consciousness: speeding, slowing, circling back, and standing still . . . Powers] is unmatched among our first-rank novelists in connecting the new ambiguities of scientific theory to the old relativities of the heart . . . The novel is] prodigious, illuminating, and exhilarating."--Richard Eder, "The New York Times"
"The novel is at its most engaging in reader-friendly scenes of family life and strife. It often soars in passages that celebrate the beauty of vocal music, including a climactic scene that reunites characters, themes, tragedy, and song in a feat of Dickensian brio."--Jeffrey Burke, "The Wall Street Journal"
"A bold and vibrant set of variations on the themes of music, race, and time . . . It is hard to think of another novel since Thomas Mann's "Doctor Faustus" that uses music so effectively and with such authority . . . Powers offers a rich, compelling account of the daily slights and indignities suffered by blacks intent on passing not for white but for unmodified American."--Steven G. Kellman, "0 Chicago Tribune"
"It seems obvious that with the publication of his eighth novel, "The Time of Our Singing," Mr. Powers has confirmed his place as the premier writer of his generation . . . He is, in the very best sense of the term, a novelist of ideas . . . Richard Powers is one of those very important and very necessary wri

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  • Additional Details
    • SKU: 9780312422189
    • Manufacturer: Picador
    • Language of Text: English
    • Author: Richard Powers
    • ISBN 13: 9780312422189
    • Publication Date: 01/01/2004
    • Format: Paperback
    • Page Count: 640
    • Width: 5.52 inches
    • Height: 1.17 inches
    • Length: 8.28 inches
    • Weight: 1.10 pounds
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