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Group Read Books - archive > Group Read - Playing with Fire Chap 14-17 Spoilers welcome

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message 1: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14286 comments The first person(s) to post please summarize this segment to guide the discussion.
Chapters 14-15 Julia and 16-17 Lorenzo


message 2: by Shomeret (last edited Dec 09, 2015 01:00PM) (new)

Shomeret | 1366 comments Rob has made an appointment for Julia to go to a psychiatrist. Julia researches her online and discovers that her specialty is competency hearings and that she has involuntarily committed a great many people. The psychiatrist wants Julia to check herself into an institution voluntarily for observation. Julia says that she needs to prepare for it.

At home Julia finds that she has received a letter from the granddaughter of the man from whom she bought the Incendio manuscript. He's been murdered. She decides to accompany Gerda to Venice to discover the whereabouts of the rights holder.

In Venice they find a memorial plaque commemorating the deportation of Venice's Jews by the Nazis. Lorenzo Tedesco is listed. Gerda suggests they ask about the Tedescos at the nearby Jewish Museum. The museum employee who they consult asks to study the Incendio manuscript. Julia is bitter about the changes in her life since she discovered it and says "Take it. I never want to see the bloody thing again."

Julia and Gerda argue about whether Incendio should be recorded and published. Then a man who Gerda thinks was sent by Rob to bring Julia back to the U.S. to be committed shoots Gerda at their hotel. Julia runs in a panic and encounters Francesca, the museum employee on the way to see her. Francesca says that she'll take Julia to safety.

Lorenzo is chosen to survive because he brought his valuable violin and demonstrated his ability to play it by playing "La Dionora" which also showed his talent as a composer. He was asked to arrange music for the prisoner musician ensemble that the Nazis were forming. At first, they played for the officers, but then a crematorium was built. They were ordered to play the Blue Danube Waltz over and over as loudly as possible to drown out the screams of the people being killed in the crematorium.

One night Lorenzo dreamed that Laura was playing a waltz. When he woke he recorded the notes of the music in the dream from memory. He called it a waltz for the dying.


message 3: by Shomeret (new)

Shomeret | 1366 comments Julia is faced with two bad choices. One choice involves the strong possibility that she will lose her marriage, custody of her a child and her freedom. The other choice involves losing the marriage and custody, but she may keep her freedom unless she is murdered by whoever is killing people because of Incendio. When she chooses Venice, it seems like a good choice at the time. Then Gerda is shot and it begins to look like Julia has made a very bad mistake.

I still think that Lorenzo is not going to survive to be liberated from the camp at the end of the war. Someone may have killed Lorenzo because of that manuscript and gotten away with it.


message 4: by Sue (last edited Dec 13, 2015 01:45PM) (new)

Sue | 26 comments Whilst it was good that Lorenzo lived longer because he played the violin the purpose of playing the violin in the concentration camp to cover up the screams of the dying was horrendous - I was shocked.

I thought the violin playing was going to be entertainment for the soldier when they were off duty etc. rather than to mask evil.


message 5: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14286 comments In other WWII / Nazi books I have read about a few select prisoners who have been spared for a time for their musical talents or other services deemed necessary for the SS officers to live in luxury amid the occupied populace so the culling of Lorenzo from the train to provide entertainment for the Nazi officer was not unexpected and I had heard of the practice of musicians forced to play music as prisoners marched to their deaths.
Gerda being shot was quite a surprise, this book is full of unexpected turns.


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