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Aloha, Mozart [Format Kindle]

Waimea Williams

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Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

Born into an impoverished Hawaiian family, Maile Manoa dreams of leading a life in music. It is an ambition that will lead her to the high-stakes world of 1960s European opera. In Salzburg, Austria, she attracts the attentions of powerful men and falls in love—with a troubled young musician, with the city, and with the intrigue that surrounds her. When Werner von Wehlen, the renowned conductor of the city’s glamorous music festival, taps her for a leading role, Maile is forced to confront the Nazi heart of the classical music scene and von Wehlen’s treacherous past. On the evening of her brilliant premiere, with Soviet tanks threatening to invade the city, Maile must choose between recognition on the world stage or escaping the city with her life—and her conscience—intact.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1314 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 283 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : B00GMCLNPG
  • Editeur : Luminis Books, Inc.; Édition : 1 (1 novembre 2012)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00IC8UHF0
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.6 étoiles sur 5  18 commentaires
9 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Sweet Hawaii 6 décembre 2012
Par J. J. McInerney - Publié sur
What if you had a great singing talent and, after years of hardship and grueling training, you had the opportunity to achieve international fame and fortune? What if you had to compromise your integrity and moral conscience to become a star? Would you?

This is the dilemma of Maile Manoa, the heroine of this sweet historical novel set in the 1960s. An impoverished native-born Hawai'ian of mixed heritage, Maile is gifted with a full-range contralto singing voice that is conducive to any musical genre. But when, in sixth grade, she hears a recording of "Aida" by Giuseppe Verdi, she realizes she was meant to sing opera--virtually unheard of in her home. She sings for a living at weddings, church functions, on a radio show, and in a Honolulu hotel--secretly squirreling away part of her earnings. When she is "discovered" by an international diva on tour, Maile studies under Madame Renska in New York, then continues her training in Salzburg during a time of tense Austrian political unrest and turmoil. There, Maile finds love and betrayal with a fellow student, corruption in diplomatic circles, and deeply rooted Nazism underscoring the world of classical music. When she is offered a starring role by a world-renown conductor with a nefarious past, she is forced to choose between her "me, me, me" diva's desire for recognition and her own innate moral convictions.

This was a really pleasurably eye-opening read. Williams, a native Hawai'ian, brings to her debut novel a first-hand knowledge of the history and culture not only of her home, but that of Austria and Germany, where she sang opera for ten years. A talent, accomplished writer, she graces her story with lilting phrases--"...caught in their own history like bugs in amber."-- and stunning word chords that musically captivate the reader's imagination. Reading Aloha, Mozart is like listening to a symphony by Mozart, so lightly flowing and delicately intricate are the author's prose, plotlines, scene descriptions, protagonist development, and character interactions. However, the basic plot punches more like an opera by Wagner.

While this is a sweetly sinuous read, it is not sugar-coated. The author pulls no punches when relating the harsh realities of Hawai'ian native life; Soviet tanks at the Austrian border; the staunch strictness of Salzburg police; and the corruption, betrayal, and stark cynicism underpinning what seems at face value to be the glamorous world of classical music. She is straightforward and brutally frank about each of her characters, especially Maile, whom I cheered for in the beginning, was concerned about in the middle, and almost angrily chided at the end. Well, almost.

This medium-length, 275-page novel transports the reader across three continents and two oceans, immersing one's imagination in the myriad intricate nuances of two cultures that are bridged together through Maile's great talents and her sometimes misguided ambition.

Aloha, Mozart is great literary fiction; a book that should be well noted and added to everyone's reading repertoire.

This review was written by Literary Blogger, June J. McInerney, who is also the author of a number of collections of short stories, including "The Basset Chronicles".
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An enchanting literary pearl! 7 septembre 2013
Par A Night's Dream of Books - Publié sur
(Note: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.)

From the opening sentences, this novel captured my undivided, rapt attention: "Maile Manoa's singing came from the ocean, people said, from the mountains, from flowers. It floated on the wind like a message sent to each listener, a voice of ancient beauty, ancient power." These beautiful sentences literally sent chills up my spine with the power of their melodious rhythm. The images of nature the author conjured floated through my mind as I savored these words. I was totally enthralled....

This is a novel of such intense passion -- the passion of art. It tells the story of a gifted young girl obsessed with the need to sing, to find the music within her soul.

She comes from a poor Hawaiian family, growing up in a culture totally alien to the traditions of classical music. Yet, from the very first moment she hears a Verdi aria in sixth grade, Maile knows that she is meant for the opera stage. And so, even as she helps to support her family with her singing, Maile secretly squirrels away money of her own for the future.

After successfully graduating from college, she leaves for music studies in New York, with the financial help of her family, which comes at great sacrifice for them. Even though they don't understand her need to sing opera, they fully support her dream.

After a year and a half in New York, Maile travels to Salzburg, Austria, with a letter of recommendation from her teacher, Leah Renska.

In Salzburg, she encounters, and becomes immersed in, European culture for the first time, succeeding in becoming the student of the great Professor Aleksander Jann, who was himself a renowned opera star in years past.

She also meets Karl Holzer, a fellow student at the Mozarteum, who plays both piano and French horn. Their relationship blooms into love in the middle of corruption and political intrigue, as tensions with the then Soviet Union grow.

And then, Maile is finally noticed by the great Werner von Wehlen, the legendary conductor. As her opportunity arrives, so does a heartrending choice, for she is confronted by two alternate paths -- following the dictates of her conscience, or abandoning them in the name of art, and the career she has been studying and struggling for all her life. How can she throw it all away? And can she live with herself if she doesn't?

I have read few books that have touched me as deeply as this one has. The only one that comes to mind is the equally beautiful and poignant tale of a young Jewish painter struggling to follow his muse in spite of the constraints imposed by his family and his Orthodox faith. That memorable book is titled My Name Is Asher Lev, by the great Chaim Potok. Both novels deal with the artist's dilemma -- to find his or her creative voice, in the midst of the pressures exerted by an uncomprehending world. In Maile's case, however, it's not so much her family that she must contend with, but the horrible legacy of a Nazi past, which, to her shock, permeates the world of opera and classical music in 1960's Austria.

Williams has created a richly detailed world -- from the Hawaiian paradise of Maile's birth, to the old-culture Salzburg paradise of her artistic growth into a fully accomplished soprano. Each world is contrasted; each has its own unique delights, and Maile frequently feels the tug of each. The descriptions of Hawaiian sunsets over mythical beaches rival those of the Austrian city's picturesque architecture and snow-capped mountains. Williams makes sure the reader fully experiences her settings, even noting small details. In this particular case, she fuses the beauty of Hawaii with that of the Austrian countryside: "The plane glided lower toward a long green river winding past three tree-covered hills, the tallest spiked by a castle, its steep walls topped by the spear points of towers, at its base a maze of twisting streets as dense as a coral reef." It's sentences like this one, as well as the ones quoted above, that make this novel such a pleasantly lush read, for those who enjoy poetic prose. (I wonder if there's an audiobook edition; these lovely sentences must be even lovelier when read aloud.)

The novel is full of musical and operatic references, which is part of what makes it so enchanting. Although I don't know much about opera, I do love classical music, having grown up listening to piano and violin concertos, symphonies, chamber music, and such choral works as Handel's Messiah. Thus, I greatly enjoyed seeing many great composers mentioned, as well as learning musical terms that I had never heard before. Because of this book, I think I'm going to begin cultivating an appreciation for opera!

Maile Manoa is someone I wish I could be friends with. She is a very gutsy, determined woman, totally focused on her goal, willing to undertake nearly any sacrifice to achieve it. She is also sweet and very naïve at the beginning of her story. She never becomes jaded, either, even as she sees the corruption around her, the hypocrisy, the ethnic snobbery. She somehow rises above it all, buoyed by her love for Karl.

Karl is a bit unsure of himself as he starts his relationship with Maile. That makes me like him immensely, since I think that men who love their own importance are unattractive, even if physically gorgeous. In spite of his initial insecurity, Karl soon falls into an easy camaraderie with the Hawaiian soprano, one that becomes deeper, richer. He and Maile give each other emotional support through the trials of perfecting their respective crafts. As events in the latter third of the novel approach the climax, Karl never wavers in his love and support for Maile, and she trusts him to be there for her during her moment of truth. This was indeed a beautiful relationship, and I wanted very badly for them to remain together!

This novel is just as much about following one's conscience as it is about working to achieve an artistic goal. Williams, who is herself Hawaiian, has deftly used her own background as an opera singer to craft a mesmerizing tale, with great characterizations that probe the depths of human nature. She is now one of my favorite writers! All I need is one novel, or one short story -- whatever the case may be -- to know if a particular author will be for me or not. It's happened with other writers, those whose particular brand of literary magic has woven a spell over my soul.

ALOHA, MOZART deserves to be praised, to become a bestseller, and I firmly believe it would translate into a totally engrossing film, as well. It is a beautiful literary pearl, one of those rare finds that will be treasured and re-read many times over. It's not only for opera or classical music connoisseurs, but for anyone who can understand what a true artist must undergo in order to attain the heights of their art, while holding on to their integrity.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Ha bteath of life versus fame! 3 avril 2013
Par Kindle Customer - Publié sur
Aloha Mozart was a fascinating book that held me captive the entire time I read it! I loved seeing a young Hawaiian woman make her way, first in New York and then to Austria. Williams has knowledge of the Hawaiian culture as well as the Austrian culture, which rings true to me being from Hawaii. I have also spent time in Salzburg, but Williams gave me better insights into that area of the world.

This story takes place in the 1960s, when Hawaii was still a very foreign place. This look at the old Hawaii is deligtful! Maile Manoa is a likeable character, who lead a very colorful life, from upbringing by an old Hawaiian grand mother, later moving in with her very large family in Honolulu, all the way to Austria. William's attention to detail helps the reader feel like they were there with Maile. The characters were well developed which adds to the readers involvement in the story.

I really didn't have any prior knowledge of the world of classical music, or opera, but the way the story is presented makes it easy to read and understand.

What keeps me interested in a book is the pace in which things happen, having foreign places to me come alive, well developed characters that are relatable, and some surprises. This book had all of those elements.

I highly recommend this book!
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The Singer and her Song 21 avril 2013
Par Lorisa A. Marshall - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Williams' novel about the journey of a young Hawaiian singer who studies Opera at the famous Mozarteum in Salzburg is exciting and passionate, yet full of sincerity and the knowledge that comes with experience. The contrasts between the two cultures and the young woman trying to bridge them are felt thoughout the novel giving the book a depth and quality which I found very appealing. The book is excellently written, the story pulls you along, the characters so well developed that I connected with them all. If you understand that music can touch parts of the soul where nothing else can, you will enjoy this read.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A charming book that needs more attention 24 mai 2013
Par P. Taylor - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
This is a unique book with great characterization, colorful settings, and a fascinating plot. I am no musician, but loved the intricate journey that a native girl makes to accomplish her dreams. I learned a lot about classical music, while following the young woman's desire to have a personal life, which includes a complicated love affair. Who knew what struggles await any young prodigy trying to become a successful classical singer?

This book deserves more promotion, as it is much better than many on the best seller list.
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