Meeting Mozart: A Novel Drawn From the Secret Diaries of Lorenzo Da Ponte

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Ever since the release of the accomplished play, and later film, Amadeus, the concept of writing historical fiction based on the golden age of classical music, has flourished. Classical Austria and its capital Vienna, in particular, has remained a rich and compelling backdrop for many an engaging tale. In the masterful book Meeting Mozart: A Novel drawn From the Secret Diaries of Lorenzo Da Ponte, the author, Howard Jay Smith, adds to this storied list of previous works. Frankly speaking, many of them are outstripped by this new riveting book.

Smith, it must be stated, from the beginning, has skilled knowledge of the period and its title characters. While it’s clear that the portrayal of Mozart is going to get the most attention from the reader, it is the depiction of glittering Vienna and Lorenzo Da Ponte’s insight that really allows the book’s narrative to take flight.

Readers with limited knowledge of the real historical figures here depicted in the book may be surprised by the scattered and frenzied nature of Mozart. Classical music has a tendency in this modern age to create in the mind’s eye imagery of its composers as out worldly creatures. Those that belong to the ages and therefore relate to no particular era seem to simply preside over the times in which they live. This is not at all the case, of course. People are people regardless of distinction. Smith does a wonderful job of flushing out the real personalities here and Mozart feels like a fully formed personality.
Vienna feels like a dreamland of vivid colors and wonderfully detailed scenery. Smith writes in a manner that feels almost like you are reading a period serial akin to Tom Jones or Barry Lyndon. From the cover to the illustrations inside, this book is a showcase of what a great and skilled author can accomplish.

As a reviewer, it is always the first rule to remain as impartial as possible. Regardless, this is a book that this reviewer will cherish as part of the home library. It is a book that should earn a space in your own collection and one that will be enjoyable with each reread.

Reviewed By:

Author Howard Jay Smith
Star Count /5
Format Trade
Page Count 430 pages
Publisher The Sager Group
Publish Date 13-Mar-2021
ISBN 9781950154388 Buy this Book
Issue May 2021
Category Historical Fiction