'The Passion of Tasha Darsky,' by Yael Goldstein Love (Broadway Books, $12.95)
Love offers us the beautifully crafted story of one woman's rise to the spotlight
This paperback edition of the novel The Passion of Tasha Darsky (formerly titled Overture in the hardback edition) draws us into a world only a talented few ever enter: the world of professional classical-music performance. Love offers us the beautifully crafted story of one woman's rise to the spotlight and her lifelong struggle to integrate her musical genius into the semblance of a normal life.
Alive with a harsh competitive edge, violinist Tasha Darsky transforms each piece of music she plays, injecting it with passion and eroticism that are instantly transmitted to her audience. Some say she is "the most famous violinist since Paganini," in awe of her abilities as a performer. However, she still feels she is inferior to her peers and questions the path she has chosen for her life.
After falling in love with the genius composer Jean Paul Boumedienne while attending Harvard, she lets go of her dreams of composing because she feels that she can never live up to his brilliance in this area. Instead she devotes herself to the art of performance and yet somehow loses herself in the spotlight.
This novel follows Tasha's life from youth to well into her adult years and seeks to reconcile her musical genius and her profound humanity. The later sections of the book focus on Tasha's difficult relationship with her teenage daughter, Alex, and examine their complex and unusual bond.
Although the novel is not based on a particular musician's story, the world so keenly developed by the author leaves readers feeling like they've had a glimpse into the exclusive professional world Tasha inhabits. Love writes with a passion all her own and seems to infuse her work with a sense of purpose and depth uncommon in a first novel. Though it is intended for a general audience, the attention to detail and critical examination of the art of performance make it particularly suited for string players.
If you're looking for an insightful and emotional read, you might be fascinated by this story of an exceptional woman and her extraordinary musical talent.