The Other La Boheme
BookBaby, 2017 (2017)
Reviewed by Barbara Lingens
y husband and I love opera and attend as often as we can. We love talking about opera to others and find that many are truly passionate about it. For instance, when a friend of ours has a doctor's appointment, the doctor sets up a double appointment, one for the medical issue and one to talk about opera.
orker Keith is also passionate about opera. In his novel, we get lots of inside information about Leoncavallo's La Bohème - its genesis, plot in comparison to Puccini's La Bohème, and the various vocal pieces in the work, to name just a few. Then there are mysterious things that happen to one of the performers, and that's a mystery to solve.
t the same time the author weaves in the background stories of the main characters in the opera, and it's this that is a bit hard for the reader. Besides having to work on their parts and take care of their voices, each performer has some particular personal problem at this point in his/her life that needs to be solved. This involves us meeting and trying to understand many people.
'm almost thinking we have two stories here - one about the opera itself, which is really interesting, and one about the main characters, which is confusing because their story is told in turn, but in snippets. There are really too many side stories. Also, the beginning is a bit awkward. To help us find out what is going on, the author has the main characters telling each other things they would already know.
certainly enjoyed all the information about Leoncavallo’s La Bohème and how it was staged and rehearsed by this particular group. I just wish the other stories were either omitted or better managed.
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