The Prague Sonata
By Bradford Morrow
Otylie is a young girl when she first comes across the manuscript, her father's prized possession, an 18th century musical sonata of unknown origin. A month later he is dead and Otylie is sent to live with an Aunt in Prague.
On this day she makes a vow that neither music nor war will enter he life again but when she is 30 Prague is invaded by the Germans and Otylie takes drastic action to save the manuscript from falling into German hands. She splits it into three segments: one for herself, one for her friend Irena and one for her husband Jakub.
In 2000 Meta receives one of these fragments as a 30th birthday present and increasingly obsessed with its origins she sets off to Prague to investigate.
Little does she realise that she is not the only one and that her search may be putting her in danger.
The Prague Sonata is a tough book for me to review because I had such conflicting opinions whilst reading it. On the one hand, I loved the human aspect of the story but on the other hand, I often found the musical aspects of it quite dull and hard to get through.
“All wars being with music…War is music and music is war, he said, breath strong from his evening stew and mulled wine.”
Otylie’s father, a formed piano teacher , had been given leave to bury his wife and make arrangements for his daughter. Within a month he had died and Otylie was on her way to live with an Aunt in Prague. The above words were among the last he spoke to her before he left.
Otylie has no siblings to comfort her in her loss and her has already succumbed to influenza. On the morning of her departure he left her a music manuscript which she knew to be his prized possession.
“Otylie made a pact with herself. She would never again listen to men who talked war. And she would never again sing or play music as long as she lived.”
Despite this promise both music and war keep finding her throughout her lifetime.
It next found her when she was 30 and living with her Jewish husband Jakub in Prague. Having seen the effects of war before Otylie immediately begins to worry for her husband who is at his shop in the Jewish quarter.
When Otylie learns her husband is involved in the underground resistance and she needs to leave her home Otylie comes to a drastic decision about the manuscript – to save it she first had to ruin it.
She split it into three separate parts. One for her, one for her best friend Irena and a final piece for Jakub if she managed to see him again before fleeing Prague.
Meta Taverner lives in the East Village with her boyfriend Jonathan and it is her 30th birthday when we first meet her. Her best friend Gillian has an unusual present for her from a woman she looks after in the hospice where she works.
The present is a music manuscript from the 18th Century of unknown origin which has a ‘whole saga’ behind it.
Jonathan is less than thrilled that she has decided to pursue the origins of the manuscript to Prague and even less impressed that she has chosen to do so alone. This puts an enormous strain on what was already an unusual relationship.
The Prague Sonata tells some heart-wrenching stories from the lives of those who have come into contact with the manuscript. These were the stories that made the book for me.
Bradford Morrow has a gift for creating characters you fall in love with and they are what makes the book one highly recommend.
Our Final Rating...
Read & Shared 85 Times.