The next review is not yet written. But fifty pages into Self Portrait with Russian Piano by Wolf Wondratschek, I thought I'd preview a book I'll feature next month, which has the look of a real winner. Shades of Julian Barnes’s wonderful The Noise of Time, except the Russian at its center lives, like so many, in Vienna; and unlike Shostakovich, this entirely fictional protagonist here is not a composer but a concert pianist, looking back on his long career and life. Ethan Hawke, fresh off performing the audio recording of Kerouac’s Big Sur and writing in last week’s New York Times Book Review, says its author, Wolf Wondratschek, “has matured in ways Kerouac never did. This novel is at once egoless, sly, profound, funny, authentic and utterly mysterious—without ever seeming to break a sweat.”
It’s a short novel, not to be gobbled up but savored. If you’re in, click on Comment below (or write me at MatthewGeyerWriter@gmail.com) and we can compare notes before or after I post my next batch of reviews. Cheers.
Matthew Geyer is the author of two novels, Strays (2008) and Atlantic View (2020). .