Monday, October 21, 2019

Love is Blind: The Rapture of Brodie Moncur by William Boyd

Love is Blind: The Rapture of Brodie Moncur. William Boyd. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.  October 2019. pb, 384 pp.; ISBN: 9780525655268.

Falling in love is so much more than just physical lust.  Brodie Moncur becomes a highly killed and popular piano tuner.  His past is fraught with the unexplained hatred by his father who considers Brodie a blackguard and many other curse words.  But due to the financial support of a beloved neighbor, Brodie is able to get a decent education and a successful job with a company that produces Channon pianos. 

For now, Brodie is tuning the piano of a performer Kilbarron and accompanying him on his tour of performances.  Kilbarron is known as “the Irish Liszt.”  His partner is Lida or Lika Blum and Brodie falls completely in love with her on their first meeting.  This is a passion that is beyond words and it’s not long before she responds in the same way.  So grows Brodie’s reliance on the family for employment and on his soaring passion for Lika. 

Brodie in the middle of his soaring success suffers a frightening consumption attack which will haunt him for the rest of his life and force him to take convalescent breaks to restore his health to a semblance of normalcy.  Eventually he is forced out of the Channon company but finds another concert pianist to accompany on tours.  During these years Brodie and Lika meet in secret at hotels and elsewhere throughout Europe.  So proceeds the path of “the cuckold, the lover and the mistress” although there is a surprise later added about these relationships.

The title of the novel refers to Lika’s statement that Brodie’s idea of love is blind, that he only sees the good in her and not the negative.  But isn’t that frequently so in all love relationships?  They will eventually be separated because of a secret fact unknown to Brodie but his reflections and descriptions of their love and union are so realistic and the European scenes so beautifully described that the reader feels a part of the whole story, including the evils trying to destroy Brodie’s success. 

The life of Brodie Moncur is indeed a rapture despite all the conflicts that beset him.  This is a lovely historical work of fiction that truly reveals the beauty of the late 19th and early 20th Century Europe and two of its characters who parallel that beauty and passion! Remarkable and realistic story!

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