Deaf but still able to converse, Beethoven “heard” those around him by means of conversation books in which friends and family jotted down communications. This daring novel, featuring a Dickensian cast, is a fictional reconstruction of these books. In it we see the aging composer struggling with his art, fighting illness, and perpetually worried about the fate of his wayward ward and nephew, Karl.
Friedman’s psychologically acute and empathetic masterpiece traces the coming-of-age—from two to twenty-four—of a boy growing up on the Lower East Side of New York. “Vivid and utterly convincing…The truth of Mr. Friedman’s book is not the truth of autobiography, but the truth-making that the best fiction is.”—James Dickey