Tingmeplz's Reviews > Antonietta

Antonietta by John Hersey
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U 50x66
's review
Apr 22, 2009

really liked it
Recommended to Tingmeplz by: a teacher
Recommended for: everyone
Read in April, 2009 , read count: 1

The novel Antonietta by John Hersey was moving and captivating in a very unconventional way. I found that it deepened my understanding of music to a certain extent and refreshed my belief in the power that it can have over people. In the novel, Antonietta was a violin created by Antonio Stradivari out of the passion he experienced when he fell in love with a beautiful widow named Antonia. He carved a cupid in its tailpiece, symbolizing Antonietta’s ability to make people fall deeply in love, if only for a moment as they listened to her music.
The story progressed as Antonietta fell into the care of different musicians, and she seemed to stir up the deepest feelings they had experienced in love. It drew my attention in with short clip-like stories of different glimpses throughout history and music from the perspective of a violin. As intended, I found this book romantic in a different way, in that it combined love and music together and was also uniquely sexual.
The character of Antonietta was as quite lifelike for being an inanimate object, but the vivacity and dynamo of the other characters more than made up for this; with the exception of the last section which I found rather disappointing character-wise. Other than the wondrously bland Spenser Ham and the other characters following his time in history, the rest of Hersey’s creations neared unforgettable in my mind.
I especially enjoyed the contrast between sections, and how each was carefully written in a completely different fashion from the last. It felt like reading five stories of almost equal timbre all bound together through the connectivity of the main character Antonietta into one splendid work of musical art. If you are a musician, have studied classical music at one time, or play the violin, you will find this novel especially fulfilling.
Whether or whether not you can read the excerpts of music printed throughout the novel, there are many colourful quirks and likeable things to enjoy for everybody. The Author’s style of writing was very poetic and seemed to lull me into a pleasant trance while describing in detail the music emanating from the instrument and the powerful effect it had on every person who encountered it, and is also charmingly provocative of the imagination.
Something that I really appreciated about this book was that it was not just about a violin. It seemed to me to have a deeper meaning about music that comes from the soul, and how powerful it is when shared with the world. So much care was put into the creation of this one object that it became a legacy. Every song written on it reflected the passion that Antonietta had within her, and the inspiration and meaning it left its listeners with I believe, is anything but fictional. As a musician I truly enjoyed this book and found that it left me with not only inspiration, but direct knowledge and broadened my view on the art of music and its purpose in the world. Something else I liked was that it really looked into the process of writing. It tells the story of each artist and how they manifested internal ideas and feeling into music, creating something real for the world. This was done in many different ways and inspired my own songwriting through the different characters and the way their creative minds formed music in very different circumstances for various purposes.
Antoinetta was the cupid of all instruments, wooing the hearts and souls of all who heard her voice. Do you believe in love at first song?
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