Body & Soul by Frank Conroy Book Summary
This saga of a son of the working class who grows into a piano prodigy is “hypnotically readable . . . The best story I know of in a long, long time” (Vanity Fair).
As a boy, Claude Rawlings looks up through the grated window of his basement apartment to watch the world go by. Poor, lonely, supported by a taxi-driver mother whose eccentricities spin more and more out of control, he faces the terrible task of growing up on the margins of life, destined to be a spectator of that great world always hurrying out of reach. But there is an out-of-tune piano in the small apartment, and in unlocking the secrets of its keys, as if by magic, Claude discovers himself. He is a musical prodigy.
Body & Soul is the story of a young man whose life is transformed by a gift. The gift is not without price—the work is relentless, the teachers exacting—but the reward is a journey that takes him to the drawing rooms of the rich and powerful, private schools, a gilt-edged marriage, and Carnegie Hall. Claude moves through this life as if he were playing a difficult composition, swept up in its drama and tension, surprised by its grace notes. Music, here, becomes a character in its own right, equaled in strength only by the music of Frank Conroy’s own unmistakable and true voice.
Bristling with character and invention, Body & Soul is Dickensian in its range and richness. This is a novel with all the emotional appeal and moral gravity of a classic bildungsroman, but with a tone as contemporary as a jazz riff—an unforgettable achievement by one of the great writers of our time.
Body & Soul (Frank Conroy) Book Reviews
BravoI wanted the ending to give me one more rush through his performance. Riveting. The way he develops his characters and can leave them aside, go back to them, like a jazz riff taking hold of to heights and lows and grabbing you back to pay attention. Took me 3 days then kept me wanting to slow down, savor this concert of a novel. A great piece of work..Score: 5/5
Body and SoulBeautifully written account about the love of music, how a child grows into an amazing artist..Score: 5/5
My favorite book of all time.As a musician, this book really reached me. As a human being, The concept of great struggling leading to great skills and talent was mesmerizing everyone should read this book..Score: 5/5
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