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Synopses & Reviews
From critically acclaimed novelist Bart Schneider comes a captivating tale of romantic love and sexual adventure, social change and family upheavals, set against the vibrant backdrop of San Francisco in the 1960s.
Inez Roseman has a brilliant career as a violinist with the San Francisco Symphony, a successful husband, and two bright and talented children. But despite her seemingly perfect life, Inez is obsessed with thoughts of suicide.
Sylvia Bran also has an obsession. Enraptured with the beautiful violinist, she pretends to be a reporter and arranges to interview Inez. At once seductive and solicitous, she awakens Inez from the suffocating grip of her career, the demands of motherhood, and the tensions caused by her husband’s many affairs. The two women become lovers, embarking on a dance of passion and betrayal that soon spins out of control.
Like Arthur Golden’s Memoirs of a Geisha and Michael Cunningham’s The Hours, Beautiful Inez is an unexpected journey into the lives of masterfully drawn, unforgettable women, by one of the literary world’s leading writers.
"In this prequel to the author's 2001 novel, Secret Love, Schneider, founding editor of the Hungry Mind Review, delivers a polished, faintly old-fashioned tale of a violinist doomed to unhappiness in early 1960s San Francisco. At 40, ice princess Inez Roseman plays in the San Francisco Symphony and is a well-known soloist. Gifted with perfect pitch and blond Swedish beauty, she is married to prominent civil rights lawyer Jake Roseman (the protagonist of Secret Love) and has two children. Gradually, through an acquaintance with Sylvia Bran, a showroom pianist who passes herself off as a journalist in order to get to know lovely Inez, cracks are revealed in the pianist's exquisite exterior. Jake is an inveterate womanizer; Inez has been depressed since the birth of her eight-year-old son, Joey; and she harbors still-smarting emotional damage from childhood sexual abuse. Schneider's meandering narrative finally settles on the blossoming lesbian relationship between the self-invented Sylvia and the complicated Inez. Despite their passionate affair, Inez thinks constantly about committing suicide, which tortures Sylvia, who is haunted by the suicide of her own mother. The novel is set during the Cuban missile crisis, which deepens the climate of chilly self-destruction Schneider fosters. Though Inez and Sylvia's relationship is sensitively handled, readers may find it difficult to sympathize with poised, distant Inez. Agent, Marly Rusoff. (Feb.) " Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Bart Schneider is the author of the novels Blue Bossa, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and Secret Love, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. He was the founding editor of the Hungry Mind Review (later Ruminator Review) and now edits Speakeasy magazine.
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