A Greater Music
REVIEW by Willard Manus
A love triangle lies at the heart of A GREATER MUSIC, a novel by the Korean writer Bae Suah (ably translated by Deborah Smith). But there is nothing conventional about the narrative setup; on the contrary, Suahs love story unfolds in a strange, elliptical, cerebral way that is quite remarkable.
We meet the
unnamed heroine, a Korean girl residing in Germany, where she is taking
language lessons from M., a thin, sickly, but handsome woman who is the
holder of a linguistics degree, easily taken up by whatever was
novel...a voracious reader and culture obsessive whod become unconsciously
influenced by Asian mysticism.
the action is the continual presence of death, even in the music to which
the Korean girl listensespecially Shostakovichs Sonata
for Viola and Piano and Bernd Alois Zimmermans last two compositions.
Its music which deals with the approach of death, when death
cannot but become their theme and they themselves cannot but confess its