Music for Wartime

Music for Wartime : Stories

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A spellbinding short story collection from a master of the form, the acclaimed author of "The Hundred-Year House" Rebecca Makkai's first two novels, "The Borrower "and "The Hundred-Year House "have established her as one of the freshest and most imaginative voices in fiction. Now, the acclaimed writer returns with a highly anticipated collection of short stories marked with her signature mix of intelligence, wit, and heart. A reality show producer manipulates two contestants into falling in love, while her own relationship falls apart. Just after the fall of the Berlin Wall, a young boy has a revelation about his father's past when a renowned Romanian violinist plays a concert in their home. In an unnamed country, a composer records the folk songs of two women from a village on the brink of destruction. Makkai has been anthologized four times in "The Best American Short Stories "as well as "The Best American Nonrequired Reading." These wide-ranging and deeply moving stories--some inspired by her family history--will delight her many fans, as well as readers of Lorrie Moore, Jim Shepard, and Karen more

Product details

  • Hardback | 240 pages
  • 140 x 212 x 26mm | 359.99g
  • English
  • 0525426698
  • 9780525426691
  • 1,485,442

Review quote

"Rebecca Makkai is one of our best writers--witty and precise, brilliant and compassionate--and every one of these stories contains all the depth and heartache of a doorstop-sized novel. I've been waiting for years for this book. "Music for Wartime" isn't simply wonderful--it's essential." --Molly Antopol, author of "The Un-Americans," longlisted for the National Book Award "I have been waiting for this collection since 2008, when I read "The Worst You Ever Feel" and it basically took the top of my head off. Deeply intelligent, stylistically playful, full of razor wit and grave historical accounting, what is most enthralling about these stories is their insistence that the political and the personal are never separate categories, that art's attempt to make sense of the senseless is at least as noble as it is doomed, and that atrocities large and small begin, as love does, in the human heart." --Pam Houston, author of "Contents May Have Shifted""It's not often you read a story collection with the range and depth of Rebecca Makkai's "Music for Wartime." The stories are about war and guilt and secrets, but also about romance and art and reality TV, and they come together, as the best collections do, as an assured and satisfying whole. It's a wonderful book, haunting, funny, and wise." --Maile Meloy, author of "Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It""Rebecca Makkai's "Music for Wartime" is a collection of the first order. The stories diverge and coalesce, practically in conversation with one another, always hewing to the varied consolations of beauty in the midst of conflict. To read one is to crave the next, each story feeding a pang you didn't quite know you had. "Music for Wartime" isn't a song, it's a sublime double-LP." --Smith Henderson, author of "Fourth of July Creek" "Showcases the author's talent for the short form." --The Millions, "Most Anticipated: The Great First-Half 2015 Book Preview" Praise for THE HUNDRED-YEAR HOUSE "[A] gleeful tale of ghosts, vengeance and family secrets...The darkly funny Makkai seeds the narrative with so many mysteries and surprises...that those 100 years race by." --"People, ""The Best New Books" "Makkai guides her twisty, maximalist story with impressive command and a natural ear for satire. Equal parts screwball comedy, intellectual sex farce, historical drama and old-fashioned ghost story, "The Hundred-Year House "sometimes feels like the precocious love child of John Irving's "The Hotel New Hampshire "and a rousing game of Clue." --"The New York Times Book Review" "A big-hearted gothic novel, an intergenerational mystery, a story of heartbreak and a romance, all crammed into one grand Midwestern estate....A juicy and moving story of art and love and the luck it takes for either to last." --"Los Angeles Times" "An entertaining, ambitious saga ....Makkai's lyrical prose quietly lifts off the page while her carefully crafted plot charges forward." --"The Boston Gobe" " and ambitious....[brimming] with humor and a fondness for hijinks.....Both clever and heartfelt, this is a book with something for pretty much everyone....You will smile, guaranteed." --"Cleveland Plain-Dealer" "A witty mystery set at a countryside estate....Makkai's humorous, expertly orchestrated storytelling will surprise you.", "6 Dazzling New Beach Reads" "Makkai has written a novel that reads almost like early Muriel Spark -- clever, competent, and concealing an unsettling and skewed reality....The hand that keeps giving the kaleidoscope another turn, controlling just how the pieces land, isn't fate, of course. It's the artist. Makkai is one." --"Chicago Tribune" "As restless, and as sly, as the mythical Proteus, [Makkai] nimbly remakes her novel at every turn....It takes a special trick to remake the world without a reader noticing; it takes a tremendous talent to do it again and again." "Compelling....clever....full of unexpected storytelling and wry humor....The delight is in the details, so don't plan to consume this one between naps. Instead, tuck your reading glasses into your carry-on and devour it on the plane. Revelations, increasingly delicious and devastating, come faster and more furiously as the text progresses, and you'll want sharp focus so you don't miss them." --"Denver Post" "A sly, funny, literary mystery, a meet-cute romantic comedy, and a metafictional meditation on fate rolled up into one." --"The Austin Chronicle" "Clever and acrobatic....Makkai is a juggler, handling the many plots, characters and ideas with ease and humor and, at times, pathos." --"San Francisco Chronicle" "A page-turner of a novel with whip-smart dialogue." --"Minneapolis Star-Tribune" "Makkai's screwball intrigue [is] fresh and fun." --"Good Housekeeping, "Summer 2014 Reading List "A clever and utterly delightful work of fiction...infused with a respect for literature and literary culture, as well as a wry sense of humor...[and] starring a house with as much personality as Manderley or Hill House." --"BookPage" "An imaginative and lively epic." --Flavorwire "Makkai humorously turns the conventional family saga on its head, in a clever exploration of metamorphosis and secrecy." --"Huffington Post, ""The Book We're Talking About" "Hilarious and heartbreaking....utterly absorbing....Makkai creates eccentric characters the reader can't give up on [and her] witty and engrossing writing style belies the nearly Dickensian way she layers characters over time, revealing hidden identities and unknown connections.... Deceptively light and fast-paced, the story will stay with the reader long after the satisfying conclusion." --"San Antonio Current" "The pleasures of Makkai's novel are contagious....["The Hundred-Year House"] manages the rare feat of crafting a smart comedy with a satisfyingly fierce pace -- this book is a true page-turner -- while indulging in an unusual structure....Here, we find a writer with an innately intelligent and assured comedic voice, someone who obviously has a deep literary pedigree but appears more interested in having fun on the page and puzzling out the complexities of a tightly woven plot." --"Toronto Star" "Deliciously entertaining....Rare indeed is the novel that combines beautiful prose with ideas as robust as those on display in "The Hundred-Year House"--not to mention a story like a set of Penrose stairs, connected in the most playful, the most surprising of ways....A wonderful novel, as beautifully written as it is painstakingly plotted, with the structure to please any literary critic, and a story absorbing enough to satisfy the most ravenous reader." --"Winnipeg Free-Press" "A puzzle-box of a story that moves backward in time....Makkai invites the reader, more than any character, to play detective. Flipping back to earlier sections to spot...clues hidden in plain sight is one of the book's distinct pleasures. Makkai [is] a mainstay of contemporary literary fiction." --"The Kansas City Star" "A funny, engaging, time-traveling love story." --"Tampa Bay Times" ""The Hundred-Year House "is a puzzle, a plunge into a world of fascinating characters, and an examination of human relationships. It is not to be missed." --"BookBrowse " "This novel is stunning: ambitious, readable, and intriguing. Its gothic elements, complexity, and plot twists are reminiscent of Margaret Atwood's" The Blind Assassin." Chilling and thoroughly enjoyable...A daring takeoff from her entertaining debut." --"Library Journal "(starred) "Charmingly clever and mischievously funny...A dazzling plot spiked with secrets...[Makkai] stealthily investigates the complexities of ambition, sexism, violence, creativity, and love in this diverting yet richly dimensional novel." --"Booklist "(starred) "A lively and clever story...exceptionally well-constructed, with engaging characters busy reinventing themselves throughout, and delightful twists that surprise and satisfy." --"Publishers Weekly "(starred) "Suspenseful [and] amusing....Makkai's novel will keep readers on edge until the last piece of the puzzle drops into place and the whole brilliant picture can be seen at once, sharp and clear." --"Shelf Awareness "(starred) "Rebecca Makkai is the most refreshing kind of writer there is: both genius and generous. Every masterfully crafted connection, every lovingly nestled detail, is a gift to the attentive reader. Playful, poignant, and richly rewarding, "The Hundred-Year House" is the most absorbing book I've read in ages. Before you've finished, you'll want to read it again." --Eleanor Henderson, author of "Ten Thousand Saints" "A mesmerizing story of self-reinvention that delights on every page, told with keen wit and a perceptive eye. Like the unforgettable characters in this gripping novel, Laurelfield will draw you into its spell." --Charlie Lovett, author of "The Bookman's Tale" ""The Hundred-Year House" is a funny, sad and delightful romp through the beginning, middle and end of an artists' colony as well as the family mansion that sheltered it and the family members who do and don't survive it. Told backwards from the viewpoints of an array of eccentric and intertwined characters, the story's secrets are revealed with stunning acuity. An ambitious work, well-realized." --B. A. Shapiro, author of "The Art Forger" "Makkai fulfills the promise of her debut with this witty and darkly acerbic novel set in the rich soils of an artists' colony. The inverted timeline of the multi-generational narrative deepens the layered mysteries at its heart. As decades unfold in reverse, we find that nothing about Laurelfield's various inhabitants is at it first appears, and neither talent nor history sits on solid ground." --Ru Freeman, author of "On Sal Mal Lane" Praise for THE BORROWER "Rarely is a first novel as smart and engaging and learned and funny and moving as "The Borrower." Rebecca Makkai is a writer to watch, as sneakily ambitious as she is unpretentious." --Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "That Old Cape Magic" and "Empire" "Falls" "An appealing, nonromantic love story...and a surprisingly moving one." --"The New York Times" "Charming...[filled] with good humor and wry self-knowledge...How could any reader of any age resist ["The Borrower]"?" --"O, "The Oprah Magazine, "Books Every Book Lover Needs to Read" "[A] charming, witty book." --"The Washington Post" "This comical and touching book strikes a nice balance between literary artistry and gripping storytelling...Satisfying and well-plotted." --"The Daily Beast," "3 Must-Read Novels" "Makkai's probing novel reminds us that literature matters because it helps us discover ourselves while exploring the worlds of others." --"The Chicago Tribune " "A lively, lovely read...[a] solid adventure tale." "[A] delightfully quirky debut." --"Good Housekeeping" "A splendid first novel [with a] whimsically patchwork plot. Larger-than-life characters and an element of the picaresque add to the book's delights." --"Booklist" (starred), named one of the Top Ten First Novels of 2011 "A captivating read...hilariously off-kilter." --"Parade" "Charming and original...A stylish and clever tale." --"Library Journal"show more

About Rebecca Makkai

Rebecca Makkai is the author of the acclaimed novels "The Hundred-Year House" and "The Borrower, " an Indie Next pick, an "O Magazine" Fall Reading selection, a "Booklist" Top Ten Debut, and one of "Chicago Magazine"'s choices for best fiction of 2011. Her work has appeared in "The Best American Short Stories" (2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008), "Best American Nonrequired Reading, " "Harper's," "McSweeney's, Tin House," "Ploughshares," " Iowa Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, " and "New England Review, "among others, and has aired on "This American Life." She lives outside Chicago with her husband and two more

Rating details

704 ratings
4.08 out of 5 stars
5 35% (248)
4 44% (308)
3 17% (117)
2 4% (25)
1 1% (6)
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