American Music by Jane Mendelsohn
Published by Knopf, an imprint of Random House
Milo is a severely wounded war vet. Honor is a physical therapist coming to the rehabilitation hospital working with Milo, massaging his back – and only his back, because he refuses to lay on his back. Except something odd is happening whenever Honor touches Milo. Somehow, memories of the past are welling out of Milo’s body when Honor works on him. Not memories of his past, but of seemingly unconnected people, primarily from the last 100 years.
Mendelsohn’s writing is absolutely gorgeous and completely lyrical. That being said, it took me quite awhile to get into the book. Although beautiful, the way the writing is crafted – particularly the lack of quotation marks and, occasionally, other punctuation – served to separate me from the characters and kept me from getting a good feel for them for a good 100 pages. Flashing back to the past didn’t help that, although it did provide the interest in the novel.
I loved the way the stories ended up coming together, for awhile there I wasn’t sure it was going to happen. I must say, I am still slightly unsure how the harem of the Ottoman Empire really connected to the other stories. It just didn’t seem to come together in quite the same way, although I have my suspicions of what we are meant to take from it, but all of the other stories connected to one another in just one way, and this didn’t quite fit the mold.
If you’re a fan of gorgeous writing, don’t hesitate to pick up “American Music.” If you tend to need a good measure of plot and character, stick with “American Music.” You may not be sure about it at the beginning, but the story will grow on you, and it is worth it by the end. Recommended.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.