Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The power of music

Violinist Eugene Drucker, a member of the Emerson String Quartet, shows himself to also be a gifted writer in his 2007 novel The Savior. In an imaginative story set during the closing days of World War II, a young German violinist named Gottfried Keller, who somehow has managed to avoid being forced into the army and sent to the front, entertains wounded soldiers in military hospitals. He hates it and so, in fact, do most of the soldiers compelled to listen to classical music.

Then one day Keller is given an even more disagreeable order. He is sent to a Nazi labor camp to play for Jewish prisoners who have been worked nearly to the point of death. The camp's kommandant, supposedly in the name of science, wants to see whether Keller's music, performed over a series of days, can restore hope and meaning to the lives of these people.

Keller soon begins to wonder whether he, too, has become a prisoner in the camp. He wonders whether those in power have found out about his relationships with two Jews before the war, a man who was a close friend and a woman he planned to marry. Will these few prisoners he plays for be spared? Or will they be killed and he along with them?

Just as the novel begins to seem predictable, Drucker throws in some surprises. How does the power of music manifest itself in the story? Who is "the savior" of the title? Discovering the answers to these questions makes for a rewarding reading experience.

No comments:

Post a Comment