From the critically acclaimed author Bradford Morrow, a literary quest novel that travels from Nazi-occupied Prague to turn-of-the-millennium New York as a young musicologist seeks to reunite the lost pages of a mysterious sonata manuscript
THE PRAGUE SONATA
by Bradford Morrow
Atlantic Monthly Press, October 2017
In the early days of the new millennium, worn and weathered pages of an original, partial sonata score—the gift of a Czech immigrant living out her final days in Queens—come into the hands of Meta Taverner, a young musicologist whose concert piano career was cut short by an injury. To Meta’s eye, it appears to be an authentic eighteenth-century manuscript; to her discerning ear, the music rendered there is commanding, hauntingly beautiful, clearly the work of a master. But there is no indication of who the composer might be. The gift comes with the caveat that Meta attempt to find the manuscript’s true owner—a Prague friend the old woman has not heard from since the Second World War forced them apart—and to make the three-part sonata whole again. Leaving New York behind for the land of Dvořák and Kafka, Meta sets out on an unforgettable search to locate the remaining movements of the sonata and uncover a story that has influenced the course of many lives, even as it becomes clear that she isn’t the only one after the music’s secrets. Magisterially evoking decades of Prague’s tragic and triumphant history, from the First World War through the soaring days of the Velvet Revolution, and moving from postwar London to the heartland of immigrant America, THE PRAGUE SONATA is both epic and intimate.
Bradford Morrow is the author of seven previous novels, including “Trinity Fields” (Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist), “The Diviner’s Tale”, and most recently, “The Forgers”, as well as a short story collection, “The Uninnocent”. He is the founding editor of Conjunctions and has contributed to many anthologies and journals.