Linda Olsson’s first novel, Astrid & Veronika, introduced readers to her gorgeous prose, and her extraordinary understanding of human relationships. With her second novel, she once again charts that terrain in a novel that also explores the significant impact of history on individual lives. In Sonata for Miriam, two events occur that will change composer Adam Anker’s life forever. Embarking on a journey that ranges from New Zealand to Poland, and then Sweden, Anker not only uncovers his parents’ true fate during World War II, but he also finally faces the consequences of an impossible choice he was forced to make twenty years before-a choice that changed the trajectory of his life.
My take: 2 looks
A disappointment from one of my favorite authors. While the writing and structure are absolutely beautiful, the story and characters left me with no sympathy and no desire to get to know them better, as well as very little understanding of what the purpose of the story was.
Adam is grieving the death of his daughter, which happens very early in the story. He is grieving, but we seem to get in on the end of it because there is no sense of heart-wrenching, brokenness, or despair. Instead, I was left with the feeling that since a main aspect of Adam’s life was now gone, he simply needed to replace it with something or someone else. And the story centers around this search.
Toward the end of the book, we switch to Cecilia’s voice. The woman who gave up her child with no valid explanation. And we never understand why. We never understand what this grief is that Adam claims she has. She comes across as very self-serving, self-absorbed, and everyone panders to her.
All in all, this book is a collection of beautifully crafted sentences and paragraphs, which have nothing at all to say. Not recommended.