Music for Wartime by Rebecca Makkai

This is a story collection, but a more coherent one than most, with stories–shockingly–about music, and about war, and about the role of each in the other, Hungary being the focus. Maybe this is why at times it reminded me of The Tsar of Love and Techno, although I think this one was published first. The web was much tighter there, with shared characters. This one is primarily thematic.

There are some that stand out in memory–the child playing the violin with the old master who’d been a POW, the soldier being interviewed after being sent to assassinate a pianist during a concert, the professor whose career and life spiral out of control when she makes a mistake while hunting, and mistakes and ethnically Chinese but American-born student for a Korean immigrant–and of course the woman who inherits her fiancé’s ex-wife’s apartment. This is what a story collection should be!

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