JSS Bach- Blog Tour

JSS Bach Cover Image
ratingiconratingiconratingiconratingiconhafrating

Blurb:

J

SS Bach is the story of three generations of women from either side of Germany’s 20th Century horror story – one side, a Jewish family from Vienna, the other linked to a ranking Nazi official at Dachau concentration camp – who suffer the consequences of what men do. Fast forward to 1990s California, and two survivors from the families meet. Rosa is a young Australian musicologist; Otto is a world-famous composer and cellist. Music and history link them. A novel of music, the Holocaust, love, and a dog. The author’s writing is a wonderland, captivating and drawing the reader in to the presented world. Time becomes no object as a literary universe unfolds and carries the reader through eighty years, where emotions are real and raw and beautifully given.

Book Information:
Hardcover: 200 pages
Publisher: Wrecking Ball Press; Hardcover edition (4 Mar. 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1903110629
ISBN-13: 978-1903110621

Where to Buy

Amazon UK

 

My Review

 

Where do I start? This holds all the horrors and beauty of mankind. The fact that even when someone isn’t good they can still do good. It’s a book that shows how the past echoes on in the future, how it really affects people rather than the imprint it just leaves in history books.

Goodman immediately drops you into the story, he doesn’t waste time on flowery prose and shows you the heart of the matter, the journey he wants to take you on. It’s one that’s not for the faint hearted. He also is brilliant at describing history in such a modern and stark way. He shows how ugly things were, how brutal it was, and yet his words are elegant, poignant, guiding you through brutal honesty and lyricism of music.

Three generations of women from the same family have been entangled in Otto’s life, whether they know it or not. Katja is the origins of it all and her character is not an easy one to appreciate, but, Goodman does a good job showing you enough about her to at least have some understanding on certain parts of her workings. I can appreciate the struggles she went through though they are justified in many ways.

Her daughter Uwe broke my heart, if there was ever a character that I wanted to reach out and cherish, it’s her. The child of two Nazis, and yet just an innocent life herself. She bears the burden of the shame brought on to her by her parents, hated by others for simply being born to them. It’s a hard life to live, and really it was a heartbreaking read overall but especially for her, Otto, and Greta. In fact the reason I rated this 4.5 instead of 5 is simply because I wish there would have been more to Uwe’s story, and the women in general but this story in reality is about Otto more than anyone else in my opinion.

Otto himself is a character full of turmoil, tragedy, and isolation. Goodman breathes him to life, there’s not one moment where his actions are believable, the way he lives his life, the choices he’s made. The only thing I struggled to believe was a certain moment that occurs in the book once it’s back to 1994, but I won’t say it and spoil it, it was quite a small issue, and one though I don’t agree with, it makes sense why Goodman put it in. In fact the rest of the story is pretty flawless, I just wanted more because I think it needed more about the women but it’s hard to argue with the choices Goodman has made. Otto though, he is the true main character in my humble opinion, and your heart will be gripped by him.

Rosa is Katja’s Granddaughter and Uwe’s daughter, raised by Katja, she’s grown up in a world knowing the stark truth about her grandparents but never knowing her own past entirely, told that her father had died, and not at all knowing who he was. She is tugged by the past onto a path that will eventually lead her to Otto.

And at the heart of everything, the main reason I wanted to read this, is music.

Otto is a brilliant cellist and composer, Katja was a musician until she went deaf (not a spoiler as you find out within the first few pages she is indeed unable to hear), and Rosa is a musicologist. Fun fact, My postgrad is in Musicology, so I was a bit critical of the musical aspects of this, and Goodman certainly did his research, I was pretty impressed and he didn’t overreach, it was a perfect balance. Music connects Otto to his family and to Katja, to Rosa later on, and it draws people in and strips them down to the bare bones of their pain and joy, its something that can’t be quantified or explained but I loved the way Goodman wrote about it, the sensations it brings in emotions and to our bodies.

As I stated earlier, this book is not for the faint hearted. This shows the brutality and violence of WWII, there are Nazis before and after the war, there are people who are cruel, but it’s never needless cruelty or violence in Goodman’s writing, it all adds purposefully to the story.

4.5/5 Cups of coffee and I tip my hat to Goodman. This was a brilliant novel that broke my heart in the best ways. Thanks to Anne for letting me be part of this tour and thanks to Goodman for the copy of his book. [I don’t typically write this in blog tours but of course my honest opinion was given in exchange]

 

About the Author

Martin Goodman Author Picture

Martin Goodman was born in Leicester, and has lived and worked in China, Qatar, the USA, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Germany, The Netherlands, Italy and France. Travel forms a large part of his writing: both for strictly travel-related books and also for novels and biographies. His first novel ON BENDED KNEES was shortlisted for the Whitbread prize, and his most recent biography SUFFER AND SURVIVE won 1st Prize, Basis of Medicine in the BMA Book Awards 2008. He is the Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Hull. He lives in Hull, London and the French Pyrenees. ‘Such narrow, narrow confines we live in. Every so often, one of us primates escapes these dimensions, as Martin Goodman did. All we can do is rattle the bars and look after him as he runs into the hills. We wait for his letters home.’
– The Los Angeles Times

Author Links

Website Twitter

 

The Rest of the Tour

JSS Bach Blog Tour Poster

 

 

Serving the Servant: Remembering Kurt Cobain eARC Review


ratingiconratingiconratingiconratingiconratingicon

Danny Goldberg is completely unassuming and humble in his retrospective look at Kurt Cobain’s career and on their personal friendship. He doesn’t pretend to know Kurt’s relationships with others, just what he sees of them and what he’s heard, he’s so honest about his interaction with Kurt and others on his behalf and it was such an emotional read for me. As a musicology graduate I have been fascinated with Kurt’s musical imprint in a research light as well as being a huge fan and this book gave a lot of depth to the music business side of Kurt which is greatly appreciated. Overall this has been one of the best reads I’ve had so far this year and will be going on my favorites list.

Honestly, I can’t even pretend and say I’m not the tiniest bit biased of a book written about Kurt Cobain but I can say that I am unbiased when it comes to who has written it so you can be at ease knowing I didn’t just rate this five stars because it’s about Kurt Cobain.

Nirvana is just this band that if you love it, it just ist he sort of music that consumes you, there’s a raw power and edge to their music and Kurt’s own voice was always so good at conveying emotion that no matter how old I get, he and the band hold such a cherished place in my heart.

I did get emotional several times through the book this is, after all, a book that is ultimately about a man with mental health issues who ended his life, cutting off his brilliance too soon. We don’t like to talk about mental health or if some do it’s because of the power of social media and we didn’t have that when Kurt died, there were such horrible things said, just one less druggie in the world, things like that, and my god bringing that all back was part of the reason I got so easily emotional.

Pros:
– Danny manages to not speak of things he doesn’t know as if he knows them, he’ll say what he’d heard or that he didn’t know something rather than trying to fill in gaps just to make the book ‘more interesting.’
– This gave an outsider’s perspective but still someone that knew Kurt on some level
– It’s been a long time since we’ve had a fresh book on Kurt Cobain
– It’s coming out 25 years since Kurt’s death
– Danny’s voice is engaging and he doesn’t drawl or drone on where he could

Cons:
– It’ll break your heart if you’re a Nirvana fan but it’ll be like Kurt’s back again when you feel the rush of it all reading about him and Nirvana.

Harper Collins was kind enough to approve my request Edelweiss for this book and honestly, I’ll be fine if I never get approved for another book on there again after having the honor to read this. This was given in exchange for my honest review, and that’s what I’ve given you all.

Toodles!