The Soloist

Nicholas Christopher, Author
Nicholas Christopher, Author Viking Books $17.95 (306p) ISBN 978-0-670-80900-4
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
Suffering a kind of housemaid's knee of the fingers, piano prodigy Max Randal stumbles over the keys trying to recover the virtuosity that for 10 years has made him the toast of the music world and will reaffirm his position when he plays at Carnegie Hall a few months hence. At the moment, however, he seems more involved with wine and women than with song; his first wife dies tragically, his second duns him for thousands in alimony, his third sets him up for re-seduction, and his interim companion goes after him with a knife. In between, his 9-going-on-19-year-old daughter Daphne is thrust upon him while her mother traipses around Europe, disregarding Max's need to practice undisturbed except by sex, speed and Scotch. His best friend, furthermore, flies off on a mysterious mission to (of all places) Albania, which eventually yields not only photographs never before revealed to the outside world, but a hitherto unknown Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody. There's intrigue aplenty, along with some homey scenes of Daphne and Daddy cooking, and a good deal of musical name-dropping and classy partying. These elements will probably charm readers willing to overlook the pretentiousness of the narrator, the improbability of the plot and the flatness of the characters. U.K. rights: Viking Penguin; translation rights: Melanie Jackson Agency. January
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