The Song of Names Two insular worlds -- classical music and Hasidic Judaism -- are put under the microscope in this lively novel. Narrator Martin Simmonds lives in London… The Song of Names Two insular worlds -- classical music and Hasidic Judaism -- are put under the microscope in this lively novel. Narrator Martin Simmonds lives in London… 2004-02-10 Fiction
Book Review

The Song Of Names (2004)

EW's GRADE
B+

Details Release Date: Feb 10, 2004; Writer: Norman Lebrecht; Genre: Fiction

Two insular worlds -- classical music and Hasidic Judaism -- are put under the microscope in this lively novel. Narrator Martin Simmonds lives in London with his uptight, class-conscious Jewish family, but his pedestrian childhood changes course in 1939 when Dovidl Rapoport, a refugee from Poland and a violin prodigy, moves in. Fast-forward to the present: Martin is now a Willy Loman-like loser, a sheet-music salesman stuck with a frosty marriage, a bad heart, and plenty of regrets. Lebrecht deftly unwraps Martin's downward spiral -- involving a mysterious disappearance and a religious awakening -- with the calm and steady touch of a concert pianist.

Originally posted Feb 20, 2004 Published in issue #752 Feb 20, 2004 Order article reprints
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