The Piano Lady and the Friar of the Mountain

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Lina Maldonado is a renowned pianist haunted by death. At least, that is what she believes. Her parents died when she was very young, and after the death of one of her lovers, she became convinced that everyone she loves will someday die. This fear causes her extreme anxiety, and she cannot stop ruminating on the possibility that her current lover and best friend will die as well. The only way she can distract herself is through losing herself in her musical gift.

Brother Lucas is a Mexican friar recently arrived in Spain. His transfer has an illicit purpose: he has been sent to protect documents containing proof of certain individuals’ involvement in the drug trade. He arrives dogged by secrets of his own. He doesn’t know who his father was, and that has troubled him for years.

Like Lina, Brother Lucas has a deep love for music. While this love is not what brings them together in the first place, it is what keeps them together. Their stories weave and interlock until it hardly matters whether fate or chance first brought them together. In the end, the beauty of their friendship becomes most important.

The story that unfolds is a fascinating exploration of human character. Even though the novel is small enough to be intimate, it feels as though every aspect of humanity is presented, from the best to the worst. The characters are presented without prejudice on the part of the author, which allows them all to shine on their own. All opinions must be formed by the reader.

The book’s lyrical prose and straightforward narration drew me in at once. I found myself immediately drawn to Lina, the fragile yet gifted musician, and was fascinated by the seeming contradiction in her character. I soon realized that it is not necessarily a contradiction. After all, Lina is human. Aren’t all humans inherently contradictory?

Though I enjoyed the book, I did have a few complaints. The straightforward narration was a refreshing change from some authors’ attempts to be coy and poetic that turn into needlessly clever obscurity, but at times reading every character’s every thought was exhausting. It left little room for depth: Lina, Lucas, and everyone else were precisely who they appeared to be. Any mysteries would have to come from external forces.

Whether readers will like this book will depend entirely on what they are looking for. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a meditative experience and, of course, music-lovers.

The Piano Lady and the Friar of the Mountain – Lou Orley from Seven on Vimeo.

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Star Count 4/5
Format Trade
Page Count 386 pages
Publisher Amazon Digital Services LLC
Publish Date 2018-Aug-07
ISBN 9781981069934 Buy this Book
Issue October 2018
Category Modern Literature


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