Pre-Release Review, Sight Reading: A Novel by Daphne Kalotay


Title: Sight Reading: A Novel
Author: Daphne Kalotay
Format: Hardcover, Paperback and eBook
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release: 21 May, 2013
Pages: 352
ISBN: 978-0062246936
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Genre: Woman’s Fiction / Family
Stars: 4
Pre-Order Now:  Hardcover § Large-Print Paperback § eBook 


About the Book:

For readers who loved Bel Canto, Three Junes, and The Hours

On a warm spring day after a long New England winter, Hazel and Remy spot each other for the first time in years. Under ordinary circumstances, this meeting might seem insignificant. But Remy, a gifted violinist, is married to the Scottish composer Nicholas Elko–once the love of Hazel’ s life, now struggling with a masterwork he cannot realize. In the twenty years since Hazel’ s world was tipped on its axis, these three artists have faced unexpected joys, mysterious afflictions and other puzzles of life, their fates irrevocably interlaced.


As their story unfolds across two decades, moving from Europe to America and from conservatory life to the Boston Symphony Orchestra, this moving novel explores how the desire to create something real and true–be it a work of art or one’s own life–can lead to deeper personal revelations, including the secrets we keep, even from ourselves. Lyrical and evocative, Sight Reading asks questions about what makes a family, about the importance of art and beauty in daily life, and about the role of intuition in both the creative process and the evolution of the self.


Book Review:


Written with near lyrical prose and provocative and beautifully eloquent description, Kalotay presents a trio of lives intersecting and colliding as love creates, enriches, weakens and ultimately destroys.


Following the lives of two women and the man they loved, the title Sight Reading manages to work beyond the simple musical connotation as we see the interactions between the characters, and are able to see the gaps and missed notes in their relationships. Although twenty years have passed, Hazel is still reflecting on her lost love and marriage to Nicholas: finding new hints and clues in hindsight that were missed during their relationship. Part of this is due to Nicholas. Neither as well defined, nor as likable a character – he is loaded with self-import and a near arrogant dismissal of those who do not believe he is as wonderful as he believes himself. His moments of difficulty in composition seem to baffle him all the more because of his attitude and the subtle and not so subtle reinforcement of his “greatness’ by the women in his life.


The idea that Remy “stole” Nicholas away is one that I found disabused as her interactions with Nicholas were revealed: she was young, impressionable and somewhat in awe of his skill and talent, and that was candy to his ego. And we are seeing the changes in Remy’s relationship to Nicholas that Hazel lived through twenty years earlier.


Through a series of reflections we are able to understand the power that love has to consume and invade each part of your life: positively or negatively. With characters that are wholly human and rather ordinary, this lesson is impactful and touching. It’s simplicity in concept, in showing complex relationships in a way that is easy to understand, make this a satisfying read.


I received an eBook copy from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.





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