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And After the Fire

And After the Fire

Georgia says: And After the Fire, a novel by Lauren Belfer, uses a fictional cantata as a device to reveal the story of Johann Sebastian Bach and his actual extreme anti-semitism, which was shared by his compatriots. This is a beautifully told story that weaves the present day with the past--part mystery and part love story.

Praised everywhere from NPR’s Fresh Air to The New Yorker, this spellbinding novel from Lauren Belfer, the New York Times bestselling author of A Fierce Radiance and City of Light, spans centuries and continents to reveal the secret history of a long-lost musical masterpiece—and the two women bound together by its troubled past
“A different species of suspense tale…. Evocative, deeply researched…. Manage[s] to dazzle while delving into dark places.” —Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s Fresh Air
Sara Itzig Levy, the daughter of Frederick the Great’s banker, counts herself among the élite of late-eighteenth-century Berlin. A gifted harpsichordist, she hones her musical talents under Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, a son of Johann Sebastian Bach. The elderly maestro and his protégée enjoy a close friendship, but their time together is running out. Friedemann’s final gift to his dearest Sara is the original score of one of his father’s cantatas—yet, as she reads its libretto, her gratitude turns to horror....
In present-day New York City, Susanna Kessler enjoys a seemingly charmed life with a loving husband and a terrific job. Then a random, devastating act of violence tears it apart. Just as she’s beginning to recover, her beloved Uncle Henry kills himself. He leaves behind a cryptic note alluding to his haunting World War II experiences as an Allied soldier in Germany, and to an artifact he took from the war-ravaged country before returning home.
Framed by Susanna’s urgent search for the truth about the disturbing musical score her uncle bequeaths to her, Sara’s richly atmospheric narrative—studded with vibrant, real-life musical figures from Wilhelm Friedemann Bach to Beethoven to Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn—reveals the passions and politics of Enlightenment—and Romantic-era Berlin.
And while Susanna attempts to fight her demons by plunging deeper and deeper into Sara’s world, harrowing questions about her own family’s past begin to surface....
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