With "humanism, generosity, and a passionate, beating heart" (The Times, London), Janice Galloway's Clara reignites, from between the lines of history, the great love of Robert and Clara Schumann. In her lifetime, Clara was a celebrated concert pianist and composer, editor and teacher, friend of Brahms -- as well as mother of the eight Schumann children and caretaker of her husband through a series of crippling mental illnesses. In its luminous integrity the novel brings Clara Schumann to life as a woman of genius.
Galloway is at once a meticulous researcher of her subjects' remarkable and highly dramatic artistic careers and a virtuoso storyteller whose imagination and empathy lead her to that place off limits to history and biography -- inside the human mind. Distilling the memories, poetry, and musical notes therein, she examines the ways artists divine patterns out of life's chaos. "Passion," writes Galloway of Clara's performance philosophy, "one might take for granted -- its control is the mechanism through which all else flows." Though music may have bent to Clara's will, love served her far more tragically.
Dismissing the clichés of Great Art and rejecting the romantic conflation of Madness and Creativity, Clara boldly ventures that in a life marred by alienation and isolation, "Work alone endures."...Continua