Ravel: a novel
, Jun 1, 2007
- 126 pages
A bestseller in France, Ravel is a beguiling and original evocation of the last ten years in the life of the musical genius Ravel, written by the novelist Jean Echenoz. The book opens in 1927 as Maurice Ravel - dandy, eccentric, and curmudgeon - voyages across the Atlantic aboard the luxurious ocean liner The France to begin his triumphant grand tour across the United States. Ravel travels across America, playing in grand concert halls from Boston to Chicago to California, meeting luminaries of the day including Stravinsky, Mahler, Bartok, Toscanini, Gershwin, and even Charlie Chaplin.
Echenoz captures the folly of the era as well as its genius, concentrating both on Ravel's personal life - sartorially and socially splendid - and on his most successful compositions from 1927 to 1937. Illuminated by flashes of Echenoz's characteristically sly humor, Ravel is not just a quirky portrait of a famous musician coping with the ups and downs of his illustrious career but also a farewell to a dignified and lonely man going reluctantly into the night.