Quarantine. Italian style (Coronavirus)
A masterpiece of a novel set in Italy
20th August 2019
The Last Concerto by Sara Alexander – a masterpiece of a novel set in Italy.
The Last Concerto is a great read. It is the story of Alba, a young girl from Ozieri in Sardinia, who wins a musical scholarship to the Academia of Santa Cecelia in Rome – much against the wishes of her parents. She studies piano. While at the Academia she falls madly in love with Vittorio, a fellow student who is studying cello and to be a conductor. She is the star student of the year, something that Vittorio resents a little. She and Vittorio split up (not in the best of circumstances) and Alba goes on to be a global success as a concert pianist. She is fêted wherever she goes. Towards the end of the book they come together again to make a film for which Vittorio has composed the score. No more for fear of a spoiler, but there is a dramatic ending.
So far, you could perhaps judge The Last Concerto to be something from the chicklit genre (not, possibly, my favourite form of writing…) – but it is so much more. What absolutely make the book are the descriptions of Alba’s emotions as she practices and performs. She gets completely lost in the music. Her body becomes part of what she is playing – and the outside world gets shut out. You can tell that Sara Alexander has to be a music aficionado – her enthusiasm and passion are completely infectious. It is a book that is a must read for every musician and embryonic musician. It also describes what fame, unwittingly, can do to a person and ‘her’ relationships with family and childhood friends.
The Last Concerto is brilliant in TripFiction location terms. Rome, especially, in described in such detail that can make you imagine you are there. And Sardinia and Sicily are not far behind. Food is described with love.The atmosphere of Italy pervades everything.
The Last Concerto is highly recommended.
Tony for the TripFiction team
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