The Prague Manuscript

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A few reasons. The reader simply does not know how it will end, and there are a few surprises scattered along the way. A partial music manuscript is from around , give or take a few years. Who is its composer? Is it authentic or is it a very good hoax? How did it arrive in Otylie's father's hands?

Also, the novel is about music and about musicologists. Meta, the main character, is given the middle movement of a piano sonata. She is amazed by the beauty of the music, and simultaneously perplexed by the sudden jumps between different styles. Her character, as well as all the others, come alive.

At the same time, the unraveling of the mystery involves understanding the music in the composition.

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It could have been written by any number of composers from that time period. And, where are the missing parts of the manuscript; how can one possibly find them, given the many decades that have passed since the manuscript was separated for safe-keeping? The novel is simultaneously about multiple romances, involving the first, 20th century character, Otylie, and the modern-day musician Meta. Both of them fall in love, and But both of them understand the potential significance of the manuscript.

I was thoroughly engaged by the story, even though I don't really like romances. The writing is never sentimental, and it flows deliciously through the entire novel. Musical metaphors are scattered throughout, but don't seem to add much or to distract from the story. I raced through the book, because View 1 comment. Sep 30, Erin added it Shelves: netgalley , did-not-finish , kindle.

Thanks to NetGalley for an advanced ebook in exchange for an honest review. I have decided to not give this book a rating. This was perhaps the first NetGalley that I felt was assembled in a mismatch way because I could never make head nor tails of which dual storyline was unraveling.

Although I am really disappointed that this book didn't hold my interest, I can see that I am safely in the minority. Oct 01, Cindy Burnett rated it really liked it. My one complaint, which altered my overall thoughts on the book significantly, was that the book was WAY too long and included too much extraneous information.

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I ended up having to skim pages and pages to pick up the next section on the sonata story line. I thoroughly enjoyed the tale regarding the missing manuscript, and the resolution of that tale brought tears to my eyes. The Czech hist 3. The Czech history was interesting too, but I felt it should have been briefer. View 2 comments. Apr 26, Joyce rated it it was amazing.


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A little girl named Otylie is told by her father that there is music in war. He describes even the various types of military music, including the music that accompanies the start and finish of a battle. He leaves her a three part musical score. For Otylie this is the only thing that remains of her father. It is now the late and Czechoslovakia is invaded by the Germans. Otylie knows she must guard the sonata from the avaricious Germans.

They are destroying everything in their path — buildings, businesses and people. Neighbors are telling on neighbors in order to curry favor and to survive. Otylie gives one-third of the score to her friend Irene and cautions her to guard it with her life.

The other third she gets to her husband, Jakob. Jakob is on the run from the Nazis. During the present day a part of an unattributed manuscript is given to Meta Tavener.

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She is a woman whose piano career was cut short be a devastating injury to her hand. The musical score appears to be authentic. It appears to have been written in the 18th Century. She meets Irena Svobodova Dorfman an elderly and very ill lady who has one-third of the musical score.

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She pleads with Meta to see if she can learn find the real owner and the other two parts of the score. What follows is a remarkable story of discovery. Meta also learns that she is not the only one looking for answers about the script. The story moves back and forth through time in a beautiful yet compelling manner. We learn interesting background information about several well-known characters that played a part in WWII. This story is beautifully written and plotted.

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It is exciting and absorbing. It tells the story of love, loss and the vagaries of the human heart. The research that went into this book is exhaustive. This is my first Bradford Morrow novel, but I will certainly be looking into other ones he has written.


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  • I truly loved it. My only problem with the book was that the transitions were difficult to follow. The story jumped from present to past with barely a paragraph break. Hopefully, this is resolved before final publication. The musical references were a little disconcerting because I did not know them, but no distraction at all from the story. May 21, Phil rated it it was ok. An anonymous piano sonata of unknown provenance and Prague, one of the most enchanting cities in the world — I simply loved the premise and read The Prague Sonata in great anticipation.

    In brief, I was disappointed. In places, it felt the author was simply copying off notes for a plot outline, and in others, the narrative was overwritten with flowery or five dollar words An anonymous piano sonata of unknown provenance and Prague, one of the most enchanting cities in the world — I simply loved the premise and read The Prague Sonata in great anticipation. In places, it felt the author was simply copying off notes for a plot outline, and in others, the narrative was overwritten with flowery or five dollar words.

    Morrow, the author, I found, I had written other novels, is a noted editor of a literary journal, and an academic. And I see his novels have enjoyed varying degrees of success in the past. So, perhaps it is I, for as I see from other reviews of the Prague Sonata Goodreads that I may be one of the dissenters. On a positive note, I think the novel has great potential as a motion picture, complete with a lush musical score and stunning visuals of Prague, to seduce the senses. My thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for permitting me to read an advance copy.

    View all 4 comments. Jul 21, Beth Duke rated it it was amazing. I adored this book. Highly recommended! Sep 17, Nancy rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites , netgalley.

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    What makes me love a book? Gorgeous writing.

    Great characters. An intriguing plot. Insights into our common humanity. Historical perspective. Encountering joy and love. Encountering horror, war, and villains. A story line that grabs me so I want to know what happens next. Some books have one or two of those attributes. To find a book that wraps up all of these things is a happy day indeed. Bradford Morrow's The Prague Sonata offers the whole package. The story is rich and complex, but also full o What makes me love a book? The story is rich and complex, but also full of music and visual references that made me think, I can't wait to see the movie.

    Protagonist Meta Taverner had dedicated her life to becoming a concert pianist when a fatal accident damaged her hand. Therapy has restored her ability to play only with "competence. Irena has held the partial score of a piano sonata since her friend Otylie gave it to her to protect during the Nazi occupation of Prague. Irena also tasks Meta with returning the score to Otylie, hoping the entire manuscript will be reunited. Mesmerized by the sonata, and hoping to find the missing sections and perhaps solve the mystery of who composed it, Meta takes up the quest.

    She puts aside her job and boyfriend to journey to Prague.

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