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A Minor: A Novel of Love, Music & Memory

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  32 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Clive Serkin, a teenage piano prodigy, seeks victory at the Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow, and enlists the help of world-renowned pianist Clare Cardiff. She becomes his mentor and teacher, and even though she is more than twice his age, Clive finds himself falling in love with her. After Clare is diagnosed with early-onset dementia, Clare’s estranged husband Nero ...more
Paperback, 245 pages
Published May 1st 2014 by Koehler Books (first published April 1st 2014)
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Average rating 4.13  · 
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 ·  32 ratings  ·  14 reviews

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Katie Augustine
Jun 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is one of the most compelling, thought-provoking books I have ever read. From beginning to end the reader is swept up into the book. The characters are very well-developed, and we as readers experience a deep look into both Clare and Clive, and also Nero. I have the book and the kindle version, and while I like paperback better, the kindle version comes with the soundtrack. This is amazing and I wish more books had this cutting-edge feature. The music really reflects the feelings of th ...more
Sep 25, 2014 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brenda Dickenson
This is truly a love story of music as it reaches the soul.

A love of music and growing in your own confidence and abilities as your teacher is losing touch with reality because of dementia is a beautiful woven story of love and devotion .
Joan Brasaemle
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved the book, as I love the music. I would recommend it to anyone who loves the music, stories about musicians, and piano competitions such as the one described.
Eileen Dandashi
Aug 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Clare Cardiff, a beautiful, talented woman of 50, was the pivotal character in this rather emotionally complex read. She touched two lives most deeply, her husband, Nero, and her piano student, Clive Serkin, who was destined to win the much coveted Tchaikovsky Piano Competition, held in the Great Hall of Moscow every four years. Fictitious main characters, the setting is authentic. It was apparent that author Margaret Ann Philbrick did her homework researching on many levels.

Nero, Clare’s husba
Mary Woods
May 26, 2014 rated it liked it
The first thing I must say about this book, is that you absolutely have to listen to the music. Whether you're reading the hard format or the e-book, use the links provided to pull up all the beautiful piano pieces which weave this story together (I can particularly recommend the Tchaikovsky Concerto No. 1--but listen to them all). Ms. Philbrick has given us readers a unique glimpse into her creative process, and the emotional enhancement the music gives to the story is not to be missed.

A Minor
Jamie Calloway-hanauer
Jun 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Margaret Philbrick’s recently-released book, A Minor, provides an intimate view into the life of a prodigious classical musician in love with an older, married woman (his piano teacher) who is suffering from early-onset dementia. Margaret’s knowledge of music and her ability to authentically voice the emotions of an angst-ridden teenaged boy are impressive, as is the way she has knit the viewpoint of a variety of players into her novel. Her character-types are wide ranging, and she handles each ...more
Jan 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
First of all, I play the piano. I've played the piano since I was 7, so they cover had me immediately. And then the descriptions of the music are sublime. I didn't have a chance to listen to the music which is linked up with the e-reader versions (my nook doesn't have that capacity), but given the professional and creative depth of description I think it would have added to the reading experience and I wish I would have made more of an effort to look that music up.

I had dreams of winning competi
Afton Rorvik
Jan 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this coming-of-age novel about a young man and his piano teacher. The beautifully written storyline and well-developed characters pulled me in immediately, but so did the music embedded in my eBook version. I could actually listen to the music the author described. This would be a great book to discuss in a book club, especially among music lovers and those who have a loved one with memory issues. The author's research about how music speaks to the soul and to the brain of patie ...more
Oct 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"A Minor" starts out as a comfortable, easy read. The characters soon become woven into each others' lives in surprising twists and turns. The concluding chapters draw empathy as Clare, Nero, and Clive face the realities and struggles of dementia. A very real treatment of this issue. Highly recommend! ...more
Interesting premise. The author used the old-fashioned omniscient POV, but I think the story would have been more powerful if she had stuck with Clare, Nero and Clive and felt them deeply. Jumping from head to head kept me from really feeling at home with any character. The e-book includes recordings of the pieces mentioned. So much fun to click and listen as I continued reading.
Jan 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
Wheaton IL author. had a lot of music info, but I didn't care for the book. ...more
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Sep 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Endearing, light story.
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Author. Gardener. Teacher. Obsessed with perennials and wild flowers. Reads many novels because that's what I teach. Loves to run and take my dog, Snuggles for long walks in the woods. Collects seeds and verses. Writes at the Lincoln desk in my living room, by hand and by keyboard. Listens to United Pursuit Band, Chopin and Collosus thanks to my youngest son who plays drums in a screamo band i.e. ...more

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