by Joyce Hackett

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Joyce Hackett's novel Disturbance of the Inner Ear is the remarkable journey of a virtuoso cellist and daughter of a holocaust survivor backwards into history and forwards toward her own personal destiny.

Joyce Hackett's novel Disturbance of the Inner Ear is the remarkable journey of a virtuoso cellist and daughter of a holocaust survivor backwards into history and forwards toward her own personal destiny.

With its hypnotic internal logic, Disturbance of the Inner Ear conjures a ravaged landscape in which anything is. .I read this book really fast to find out what happens

With its hypnotic internal logic, Disturbance of the Inner Ear conjures a ravaged landscape in which anything is possible. Stylistically daring and psychologically acute, this dazzling debut marks the arrival of an exciting new novelist. I read this book really fast to find out what happens. After it finishes the trajectory of the book and where it ends feels like the reader should have guessed, but I think that is the art of the author, and that like life, there are many ways it could have taken and each one could have been just as convincing.

Women musicians, Residents (Medicine), Popular American Fiction, Fiction, Fiction - General, Literature: Classics, Romance - General, Literary, Fiction, Literary, Children of Holocaust survivors. Books for People with Print Disabilities. Internet Archive Books. Uploaded by Alethea Bowser on March 7, 2012. SIMILAR ITEMS (based on metadata).

Organization is occasionally erratic, but Hackett scores big with her shimmering bon mots and breathtaking elegiac atmosphere. A rare find: a thinking, feeling novelist with a stinging stylistic flair and a monumental story to tell.

Joyce Hackett, whose novel Disturbance of the Inner Ear won the Kafka Prize for fiction, said her book gained far more recognition that it might otherwise have, after it won. Still, prizes reflect one thing. Still, prizes reflect one thing: the taste of this year or this era’s committee. A book like The Known World, which won every prize, has only grown in stature since it was published.

Joyce Hackett is the author of Disturbance of The Inner Ear, a novel about music, history and love. Narrated by a cellist who has been playing her instrument without sound for over a decade, the novel recounts how Isabel regains her ability to play via an affair with an Italian male prostitute. 1. The Loser by Thomas Bernhard. Two talented pianists are studying at the Salzburg Mozarteum when the celebrated Glenn Gould arrives and blows them out of the water. How they cope with their lack of greatness is the story of the novel.

DISTURBANCE OF THE INNER EAR. By Joyce Hackett. When Isabel was 14, on the night of her Carnegie Hall debut, her parents died in a car crash. She hasn't played well since. This dark, critically lauded novel tells the story of inherited trauma healed by erotic love in the lives of two unlikely soul mates: Isabel, a former cello prodigy and daughter of a Holocaust survivor, and Giulio, an Italian gigolo. With its hypnotic internal logic, Disturbance conjures a ravaged landscape in which anything is possible.

Comments: (7)

Joyce Hackett is a sculptural writer. She obviously knows her music - both technically and the repertoire - and she uses this information to create a novel that continues to surprise until the final page. This is a story about what we inherit from our parents, be that talent, guilt, revenge, vendetta, remorse, hunger for joy, or just the need to be, to survive. The narrator of this finely honed novel is Isabel whose father survived the Nazi camp of Theresienstadt where he had wisely survived through his gifts as a pianist as a part of the orchestra that played as Jews and other unwanted people arrived at what they believed to be a Spa, discovering once inside that it was an extermination camp. Yuri (Isabel's father) escaped death, but not before his musically gifted fingers were crushed by a guard on the day of freedom. Yuri concentrates all of his rage and frustration having escaped to Milwauakee, WI to raise his daughter,Isabel, a prodigy of the cello. He drives his daughter to extremes of performance, always reminding her of the price paid for her gift. After her successful Carnegie Hall debut her parents are killed in an accident and Isabel is unable to continue playing the cello. She is alone except for her elderly mentor who takes her as his protege and lover to Milan, Italy. There he dies and Isabel sets out to survive on her own. She soon finds employment as a tutor in a large house owned by an eccentric millionaire who demands his son be taught the cello on a rare Amati cello. Isabel's sole contact with the outside world is a plastic surgeon (Guilio) who has as strange a mental hisory as does Isabel. Through a long series of incidents, Isabel finally travels to Theresienstadt to end her tie with her father's past, intending to burn her invaluable cello in the ovens that threatened her father. "Because what Yuri lost was not two parents, or two fingers, not a musical community or a continent. What Yuri lost was a way of trusting the world, the ability to imagine that the world's immense silence contained any sort of listening. What Yuri lost was the possibility of God." "Husbanding my talent was his way of making order out of chaos."
DISTURBANCES OF THE INNER EAR sensitively evokes the traits we inherit form our parents and how we learn to cope with what our history and our contemporary life have dealt us. Isabel finds passion - physical, erotic meaning to exisiting - and embraces that passion in carving her euology for all that was in her past. At the site of Theresienstadt she once again performs for the survivors and the children of survivors the Messiaen "Quartet for the End of Time", the piece that had been her last performance at Carnegie Hall and Messiaen's utterance he wrote for the inmates of the camps. And she rises like a phoenix from that experience.
Joyce Hackett writes beautifully. Reading her book takes concentration as she has written without quotation marks, she melds the past and the present in one sentence and paragraph, and at times pushes her musical knowledge to the point of overindulgence of metaphor. Yet she has written one of the more intense and sensitive memoirs about the Holocaust. A reader recommended this book to me after reading my review of WG Sebald's "Austerlitz" and now I know why. A very fine book.
There have been many novels with musical themes - Mann's Doctor Faustus; Vikram Seth's An Equal Music; Ann Patchett's Bel Canto, to name one acknowledged masterpiece and two more recent books. This is another. It's the hauntingly told story of a virtuoso cellist, Isabel Masurovsky, the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, himself a pianist. In a mélange of remembering and forgetting she believes she has lost her musical gift forever; she is adrift. The style of writing is somewhat disjunct, but close reading allows one to catch the thread of the narrative, and one realizes that the disjointed narrative reflects Isabel's inner life as she struggles to reclaim her gift and begin her life anew.
The story itself is harrowing, yet tender and wise. But the novel's main glory is Hackett's use of language. A couple of examples, picked almost at random: "I floated out into his flood of language, grabbing at branches, but not understanding much." "Milan is a grim, gray, German city. Its few surviving Italian grace notes dim amid chord after heavy chord of industrial postwar morass."
The writer obviously knows a great deal about music and, for this musical reader, her surefootedness on musical topics helps make it a joy to read. So often writers strike false notes in their musical prose.
Recommended urgently.
Haunting prose about an orphaned cellist's path toward understanding her roots, understanding her father, and understanding her gift. Isabel, a talented and troubled young prodigy, is debuting at Carnegie Hall on the evening that her parents are killed in an accident. A much older lover/benefactor takes her under his wings, and she is again cast adrift when he dies while the two are in Milan. Isabel tries to survive in Milan, and becomes entangled with interesting characters. She is skilled at avoidance, and is constantly running away from intimacy and revelation, running toward her roots. What made this novel particularly intriguing were the author's frequent references to music, musicians (cellists in particular), and her descriptions of Isabel's emotions and interpretations of specific pieces of music. This novel should hold particular appeal for a serious lover of classical music.
My great-aunt who owned over 2,000 books left this interesting little book sitting on her bed stand the night that she died of heart failure. From the looks of it, with all her ballpoint pen notes, and her highlighting of different passages, it was a book that meant something to her. So finally, two years to the day that she died, I read this superb book in three intense hours, taking in novelist Joyce Hackett's fine prose, deft plot, and haunting lead character. The last time I had a book reading experience like this one was when I read The Final Opus of Leon Solomon, another forgotten book that I think should be more well known. I hope Joyce Hackett keeps writing, because I believe she is one of our great intellectual novelists.
Author: Joyce Hackett
ISBN: 0316725900
Category: Literature & Fiction
Subcategory: Contemporary
Language: English
Publisher: LITTLE BROWN (August 7, 2003)
Pages: 290 pages