War & Music: A Medley of Love

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UNM Press, 2010 - Fiction - 175 pages
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Ty Hale, a young corporal from Lovington, New Mexico, finds himself alone in the middle of a grain field in Normandy after being knocked unconscious by the explosion of a German artillery shell. Stunned from the explosion and overwhelmed by visions of the grandfather who raised him and the simple life of the New Mexico prairie he has left behind, Ty attempts to rejoin his unit but instead stumbles onto a country estate and inextricably into the lives of its inhabitants.

Philippe Gaston, a former music teacher, his stunningly beautiful daughter Renée, and Hans Heinike, a German deserter and an accomplished musician, are attempting to carve out a normal existence in spite of the chaos and destruction that surrounds them. As Philippe devotes his time to his German protégé, Ty and Renée fall in love and Ty learns of the Gaston estate's unique legacy of survival and the most recent story of violence and sacrifice that has preserved this pristine oasis in the midst of a raging war.

The music that permeates their solitary existence, whether it be the buzzing and chattering of insects and birds, a violin and human voice joined in concert, or the fire of machine guns and the distant rumble of tanks, draws these unlikely comrades together and reveals the common humanity that resides in us all. The war, the music, the love, and the rhythms of nature are all timeless and eternal.

 

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Contents

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About the author (2010)

Max's favorite writer is Balzac, the French writer of writers. How powerful his choice! Balzac was the best writer ever to describe the character and human soul of old France.

Max Evans' new book, War and Music, is a very touching subject: he makes two soldiers from enemy armies talk to each other, sharing the same passion for music. The symbolism of human friendship is so potent in this book it makes war the most absurd act of mankind. His message, that peace is possible using music as a universal language, is stunning. Once again, our great writer tells us a major but too often ignored fact of life: it is possible for human beings to get along.

All Max's books are full of understanding for different human beings. Evans tells us through all his writing what makes the human soul, the essence of life.

Max is a true non-heroic hero. He is the real thing, "pour de vrai," as I may say in my "Frenglish." He is an admirer of Balzac but is one of his own characters as well. He is a soldier who fights for human rights. How lucky I am to have met such a man in such a great country!---Bernard Plossu, world-renowned photographer, adventurer, and lover of deserts, is a former resident of New Mexico and winner of the National Grand Prize for Photography, France, 1988

No one writes of the horrors of war better than old Max. Hell, no one writes it as well. War and Music has the realistic, ghastly stuff of the battles of World War II detailed in grisly style. If all he did here was describe the events at Normandy, the book would be worth reading and worth publishing. But that is just the beginning.

This book is about war and music. It's about the way the world is made and about the relationship of all things. War and Music is destined to become one of the great books of American literature, and deservedly so. It's about how wickedness and beauty have to exist in this world side by side, or at least back to back---Robert J. Conley is the Sequoyah Distinguished Professor in Cherokee Studies at Western Carolina University, president-elect of the Western Writers of America, and author of scores of fiction and nonfiction works, including the award-winning The Cherokee Nation, published by UNM Press.

Ty Hale, a young corporal from Lovington, New Mexico, finds himself alone in the middle of a grain field in Normandy after being knocked unconscious by the explosion of a German artillery shell. Stunned from the explosion and overwhelmed by visions of the grandfather who raised him and the simple life of the New Mexico prairie he has left behind, Ty attempts to rejoin his unit but instead stumbles onto a country estate and inextricably into the lives of its inhabitants

Philippe Gaston, a former music teacher, his stunningly beautiful daughter Renee, and Hans Heinike, a German deserter and an accomplished musician, are attempting to carve out a normal existence in spite of the chaos and destruction that surrounds them. As Philippe devotes his time to his German protege, Ty and Renee fall in love and Ty learns of the Gaston estate's unique legacy of survival and the most recent story of violence and sacrifice that has preserved this pristine oasis in the midst of a raging war.

The music that permeates their solitary existence, whether it be the buzzing and chattering of insects and birds, a violin and human voice joined in concert, or the fire of machine guns and the distant rumble of tanks, draws these unlikely comrades together and reveals the common humanity that resides in us all. The war, the music, the love, and the rhythms of nature are all timeless and etenal.
Max Evans is one of New Mexico's best-Known writers. He is the author of over twenty-five books, including faraway Blue, Bluefeather Fellini, Madam Millie, and Now and Forever (UNM Press), as well as the Rounders and The Hi Lo Country, both made into major films. Evans has received numerous awards, including the Owen Wister Award for lifelong contributions to the field of western literature from the Western Writers of America.

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