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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Body & Soul, by Frank Conroy, 1998 * * * *

Body and Soul tracks the improbable development of a young man named Claude Rawlings from a musically talented child to his emergence as a full blown piano prodigy – equally gifted at both classical and jazz. Conroy has a clear, concise and engaging writing style and has the ability to effectively convey mood within the story. Against a backdrop that pulses with sound and rhythm, the book brilliantly evokes the life of a child prodigy whose musical genius pulls him out of squalor and into the drawing rooms of the rich and a gilt-edged marriage. But the same talent that transforms Claude also hurtles him into a lonely world of obsession and relentless ambition. From Carnegie Hall to the smoky jazz clubs of London, Body & Soul burns with passion and truth--at once a riveting, compulsive read and a breathtaking glimpse into a boy's heart and an artist's soul. This is, qute simply, a great book. Conroy takes you into New York City in the 1940s and into the music and soul of the main characters. I have recommended this book to many and all have enjoyed it. I only wish that Frank Conroy had written more novels.

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