Appassionata NPR coverage of Appassionata by Eva Hoffman. News, author interviews, critics' picks and more.
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by Eva Hoffman

Hardcover, 265 pages, Random House Inc, List Price: $25 |


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Book Summary

Feeling torn between her passion for music and the life of a traveling artist, Isabel meets a political exile and they are drawn to each other both by their differences and their seemingly parallel passions.

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Excerpt: Appassionata

His eyes become remote again, his mouth set. He turns away from her, and picks up a jagged stone and throws it, with surprising force, down into the small ravine. A faint sound reaches them, mixed with the unvarying, gurgling water. She follows the movement of his torso as he turns effortlessly with the extension of the throwing arm. Line of beauty, she thinks, line of grace. . . . The casual arc of the throwing arm seems to slow into a timelessness; and suddenly, as if in concert with the elongated curve, she feels a surge of longing so sudden and powerful that she’s afraid she’ll fall from it, that her chest will cave
in as from a blow.

Anzor’s eyes return to her, still occluded, still looking into another distance; then they gather toward a more focused light. His face is for a moment fully unmasked, and he directs at her a stare that takes her in with a kind of encompassing ferocity. She stares back. He is very near and at a great distance. She knows nothing about this man, except the sudden power of his presence. A line of attraction and danger seems to vibrate between them in a tense ostinato. She feels she could travel a long way along that line, beyond the dark glow of his gaze, and into whatever lies within. For a moment, their eyes lock.

Then the moment is over, and they start walking back to the car. On the way down the winding road, they talk politely, as people who are getting acquainted talk.