Thursday, June 21, 2007

Mozart's Sister

Mozart's Sister by Nancy Moser, 2006.

I love historical fiction. I love it. I love learning new things. Of seeing things in a new way. So it shouldn't really come as a surprise that I really enjoyed reading Mozart's Sister. In some ways it is difficult to review books that cover such a large span of time. When a book covers the years from eleven or twelve up to death in the seventies...then it is hard to summarize all the action and note all the themes. The book begins with the Mozart children on tour. Both Nannerl (the sister) and Wolfgang (the brother) are great musical performers. She is around six or seven years older, so he is seen as more of a "prodigy" than she is. But they're both great at what they do. They're a team. But life has a way of changing it even when we don't want it to. As the children begin to grow up, certain things become apparent. Nannerl will not be "allowed" to perform much longer since she is becoming a woman. She will be expected to stay at home and learn feminine duties so she'll make a good housewife. And the second is that with age it is even becoming difficult for Wolfgang (Wolfie) to find success on the road. As he is growing to be a young man (mid to late teens), people see him less as a prodigy and more ordinary. Fame is fleeting it seems for the Mozart family...and money is always tight.

The book is divided into several sections, and as I mentioned before covers a large amount of time. But generally speaking, it addresses women's roles and the expectations of society. Nannerl may not end up living the life she dreamed about as a young girl--a famous musician and composer--but she does find contentment in her own small way.