Synopses & Reviews
It is the summer of 1976 and Salvo Ursari, a man of retirement age, is walking on a taut wire strung between the Twin Towers of New York's World Trade Center, almost fourteen hundred feet above the city. Far below him in the gaping crowd stands his wife, Anna, to whom he has made a solemn promise: This wire walk will end his career. In this daring moment, Steven Galloway opens his riveting novel about Salvo Ursari, whose life begins in 1919 amid a Transylvanian boyhood inhabited by gypsy folklore and inspired by the bravery of his persecuted people. Salvo's story moves irresistibly from a tragic fire that envelops his family, to street life in Budapest, where he learns the skills of a wire walker, to the carnivals of Europe and the competitive world of the American circus. Most fulfilled when living with paradox, Salvo feels safest while performing startling feats of balance on a wire high above the dangerous world; and most endangered if performing above a net. With compassion, warmth, and blazing originality, Ascension combines jaw-dropping storytelling, and fantastical symbolism with mesmerizing detail of Romany and circus culture, and an unforgettable walk with the amazing Salvo Ursari.
"Ascension is as spellbinding as Coltrane's music."--The New Review of Records
"This remarkable book traces the development of Coltrane's music as it moved from hard bop to the freest jazz. . . . Informed and convincing, Ascension belongs on the short list of essential music books . . ."--Lang Thompson, Option
"Nisenson . . . presents us with a sensitive and vivid portrait of Coltrane as he progressed from a 'journeyman bopper' addicted to alcohol and heroin to a profoundly spiritual 'warrior' seeking knowledge of God through the making of music."--Booklist
"Equal parts biography, jazz history, social history, and listener's guide, Ascension manages to be both entertaining and enlightening. Though Eric Nisenson is an avowed fan of Coltrane, he maintains clearheadedness where others often succumb to gibberish. As a listener's guide to Coltrane recordings, the book is perceptive and thorough."--New York Times Book Review
About the Author
Eric Nisenson is the author of several jazz books, including The Making of Kind of Blue. He lives in Malden, Massachusetts.