The Glass Harmonica – a sensualist’s tale by Dorothee E. Kocks, Rosa Mira, ISBN 9780986469411, RRP$11 (ebook only), Available as an ebook and Print on Demand.
There’s something very wonderful about being a luddite e-book reader (i.e. I don’t have an ebook reader, so I don’t read ebooks) and finding out that you can now read ebooks in this wonderful new format – paperback!
And thank goodness, because otherwise I would have missed out on this wonderful tale from Dorothee E. Kocks and Rosa Mira books, a tale that takes its reader from Europe to America, from music to movies, from sin to sensuality. Our heroine in The Glass Harmonica is Chjara Valle: intelligent, feisty, sexy – a very fun heroine, in other words! We meet Chjara as a teenager on Corsica and within the first six pages she’s lost her virginity to the local lovely lad (rather awesome) which then sees her sold off to a French merchant as a servant (rather less awesome, though a nicely realistic jolt).
So, the beginning is extremely promising and fortunately the rest of The Glass Harmonica does not disappoint. Chjara ends up in Paris, where she meets Marguerite (a French noblewoman who is still mourning losing her husband and son to the guillotine) and then the two loves of her life: Henry, a son of Puritans and the glass harmonica.
Music, love and sex become entwined in The Glass Harmonica, as we move from France to New England. I loved all the strands that were embedded in this story, there’s so much happening that it was easy to become enthralled and carried away. In many ways it is a book that’s very reminiscent of Louis de Bernieres, with strong female characters, the idea of the Old World and the New World clashing, and the wonderfully descriptive story-telling.
There’s also some interesting ideas examined, particularly by Chjara who throughout the novel questions why virtue must equal restraint and asceticism, and there’s more than one not-so-subtle reminder of the hypocrisy of many the “virtuous”.
Aside from everything else this is just a great read. Kocks keeps an expert writerly hand on the drama in her tale, intensifying it and moderating it perfectly, so as a reader you cannot help but feel the tension and emotion.
It even has a book trailer! Enjoy: