Orfeo

Movel of the Month

OrfeoWhat an interesting combination of topics: music and science.  Bring in Homeland Security and it becomes a suspense story.  This mix of themes may not appeal to every male reader, but you have to admire the intrigue that Powers creates with it.  Seventy-year-old Peter Els is a retired composer who seems to have the ability to experiment with new musical patterns that may change the way humans experience songs.  When his home microbiology lab gets discovered, he runs for cover and tries to find help through the closest people in his life—enabling him to compose something that will be a first in all of humanity.  Even though I was lost at certain moments, the book did get rave reviews from top literary journals.  The ratings alone should give this novel due respect.  Maybe sound and space in time can create beautiful music!  The calculations are endless.

HisLit title read-alikes:
If you liked this book, the following may be other titles that could possibly grab your interest:
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Mexico Set by Len Deighton
The Fear Index by Robert Harris

HisLit author read-alikes:
-Per Petterson 
(He writes leisurely paced, introspective, and contemplative novels about dealing with memories of the past.  His intricate, fragmented narratives often jump between times and settings in exploring the lives of his characters.  Through elegant, sparse, and lyrical prose Petterson offers intimate and well-developed psychological portraits of people dealing with tumultuous historical periods, haunting personal memories and past traumas, and the process of aging and dying—similar to Powers.  Start with: Out Stealing Horses.)
-David Mitchell (Like Powers, he explores a range of settings and character types in layered, often experimental structures.  Although Powers focuses more on music throughout his works, Mitchell’s novels often focus more narrowly on single issues; both offer literary complexity that celebrates a sense of wonder about the universe.  Start with: Ghostwritten.)
-Nancy Kress (Powers fans will find much to satisfy them in the writings of Nancy Kress, whose novels reveal strong science themes, as well as powerful characterizations, elegant prose, a philosophical bent, and a relentlessly cerebral/intellectual outlook.  Start with: Brain Rose.)

While this book plays with the science of music patterns, it also brings in the element of psychological suspense and it just goes to show that anything can get the government suspicious.

 

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