I received an advanced copy of this book from The New York Review of Books through NetGalley. I invite you to read my review and scroll down to the end of the page to win a copy of your own. Open Internationally.
The format and style of this book is nothing short of genius. Because of his deafness, Beethoven would use conversation books to communicate in the last years of his life. His friends and family would write their parts of a conversation in the books and he would respond orally. CONVERSATIONS WITH BEETHOVEN attempts to reconstruct the conversation book from the last year of his life.
These conversations with the great maestro portray a man who was irascible and paranoid. He believed that all women had loose morals that would give you a disease. He constantly accused people in his life of trying to poison him or steal from him. He had an explosive temper and those around him would often try to calm him down and make him stop shouting. Beethoven’s paranoia resulted in several hilarious exchanges between himself and his family members. There are many funny conversations between Beethoven and his brother Johann in which Beethoven is accusing Johann of stealing from him or Beethoven is telling Johann that his wife is sleeping around.
The conversations also reveal a touching side to the composer, who was thoroughly devoted to his family and always passionate about writing music. His nephew Karl, whom he adopted after the death of his brother, gives him many reasons for worry and heartache. Throughout all of the trials and tribulations with Karl, the affection and attention that he gives to his nephew never wanes. Beethoven also has several devoted assistants and friends that he cares for greatly. The unique style of the conversations lets the reader see, in their own words, the genuine affection that friends, family and acquaintances had for Beethoven.
If you read one new book this fall then it should be CONVERSATIONS WITH BEETHOVEN. The New York Review of Books had issued yet another great reprint that will allow a new generation of readers to enjoy and appreciate Sanford Friedman’s work.
I enjoyed this book so much and I know you will too so I have decided to do a giveaway. If you would like to win a copy leave a comment below telling what is the most unique book (style, content, really anything) that you have read. I will choose a winner on 9/5. US/Canada can choose a hardcopy or Kindle edition from Amazon. Open Internationally as long as you can receive an Amazon Gift Code for the book.
The winner of the giveaway is Carolyn M. Thanks to everyone for the great comments and book suggestions!