Monday, March 23, 2009

Sonata for Miriam- my thoughts and a book giveaway!

Sonata for Miriam

by Linda Olsson
copyright 2009
273 magical and beautifully written pages

From Penguin Books:
Once again Linda Olsson captures poignantly the pain of loss and the universal longing to uncover the past. On the day of his only daughter's death, composer Adam Anker visits a War Memorial Museum in New Zealand, and discovers a photograph of a man who shares Adam's name, or at least the name he was born with: Adam Lipski. After a year spent grieving the loss of his daughter, Adam embarks on a journey. His search takes him to Krakow, Poland, where he meets Moishe Spiewak, an elderly Jewish man who knew Adam Lipski and his family well, and who was one of the last people to see him alive. As Moishe and Adam's friendship deepens, Adam begiins to understand what happened to his family. But there is one more person he must see before he can begin life anew: the mother of his daughter and the love of his life, to whom he hasn't spoken in twenty years.

This is my first experience with Linda Olsson and I'm so thankful that I have found her. Her writing is exquisite and invokes such emotion, that I find it hard to put into words the feelings I experienced while reading this novel. Her descriptions of the places and people make you feel as if you are there along side Adam. I felt his pain accutely in so many parts of this book. The loss of his daughter is always moving like a whisper in the background of the story. Everything that he is and does is because of this love that he experienced while raising her and then losing her. With that loss, he has to find a way to live again. Living is something that he finds extremely hard to do, but he realizes that he did not give his daughter everything that he could've...he never gave her the mother that she needed to know. He himself never got to know his real father, so he decides to explore the clues that he uncovered in the War Memorial Museum. As he uncovers his family's history you get to really know, understand, and to see how his past has influenced his life and the choices he has made along the way. With the help of family he never knew about and newly found friends, he eventually is able to reconcile his past so that he can embrace his future. Olsson's writing is spare and eloquent. She has such a masterful command of language and I found myself falling in love with her words.

"I never knew how Jan's father had discovered that our time was running out. He must have made some elaborate preparations after he heard about the imminent deportation of Jews. But he never discussed it with me--not then, not later. When I arrived at their apartment, they were ready to go, and we left the same afternoon. I was to travel with them to London, officially as Jan's tutor. And that was how I ended up as the only surviving member of my family. I survived. But I lost my life.

I lay down on the bed clasping the pictures and buried my face in the pillow in a vain attempt at silencing my sobs. But it was as if all my life's accumulated grief had finally found an outlet and was allowed to take its course. I screamed, I cried, until the grief became bearable. Afterward I lay staring into the air above the bed.
And eventually I fell into a dreamless sleep.

p. 175

I could list a thousand such passages that moved me but I want you, the reader, to experience them for yourself. If you haven't read Linda Olsson then I strongly recommend this book to you. I believe that it will become a favorite read for 2009, just like it has for me!

For more information about Linda Olsson and her previous book, Astrid & Veronkia please visit her here.

I want to thank Gabrielle at Penguin Books for giving me the opportunity to read this wonderful story!

Would you like to win my copy of this book?

I have one paperback copy of Sonata For Miriam by Linda Olsson to share with one of my readers courtesy of Penguin Group. This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only (no PO boxes). Here are the rules:
  • For one entry leave me a comment with an email address. No email address, no entry. If you would like to send me your email privately please do so at
  • Blog about this giveaway and spread the word for two entries. Posting on your sidebar counts
  • Follow my blog and get three entries (if you're already a follower, let me know-that counts too)

I will draw for a winner on March 30th!! Good Luck!!

Check out these other great reviews:

S. Krishna's Books
Kaye @ Pudgy Penguin Perusals


  1. Hey Staci! I would love to win a copy of this book; however, your first rule is "no email address, no entry". Is it possible for me to e-mail you my address? I will still post this give-away on my sidebar (whether I'm entered or not) and I follow you on Google Reader. :)

  2. Joy,
    Please email me at brought up a good point so I edited my post to include my email address so that people could email me privately!! This is my first time doing this..sorry about that!!

  3. This sounds like a great book. Id love a shot at it.

    nonlovely [at] gmail [dot] com.

    And Im a follower!

  4. OH, I would LOVE to read this book...thanks for the contest. My email is caribousmom (at) gmail (dot) com

    I don't use the Follow feature on Google, but I DO subscribe to your blog through Google Reader is that counts :)

  5. I would love a chance to win.
    morefromscraps (at) comcast (dot) net.
    Thanks! Pam

  6. What a great review! This sounds like an amazing book and my email address is

  7. Absolutely Wendy!! It counts. Thanks!!

  8. Oh, you know I'd love to enter for this one Staci. The quotes you used are so powerful, just a great review.

    Anyhoooo, I already follow you and I'll post this in my sidebar.

    bj19662001 (at) yahoo (dot) ca

  9. I'm a sucker for beautiful writing. You know you can count me in on this giveaway!

    I'm already a subscriber and I'll post this in my right sidebar at:

    jgbeads AT gmail DOT com

  10. No need to enter me, as i just finished it not too long ago. I just want to encourage people to sign up for this contest. Get your fellow bloggers over here to sign up. This is one exquisite piece of literature. Good luck in the contest.

  11. I've seen this title a lot lately. Please enter my name.

    meah56 AT gmail DOT com

    I posted about it in my sidebar giveaways.

    I follow you in Google Reader.

    Thanks for offering this book.


  12. I am fascinated with this wonderful novel. Thanks for this great giveaway.

  13. This is a captivating story which interests me greatly. What a great novel to feature. Thanks.

  14. Look at you, giving away a book. Sounds like a good one! Please don't enter me, I'm just passing through to say hi! :)

  15. Wow ... this book sounds amazing! I'd love to read it!

  16. What a beautiful review Staci! You know that I am a huge fan of the authors first book, Astrid & Veronika and I cannot wait to read this! Thanks so much for a wonderful giveaway!!!


    I blogged about this in my sidebar under Other Blog Giveaways.

    I'm already a follower/subscriber and check your blog daily, it's one of my favorites!!

  17. This sounds like a great book!

    I am also a follower of your blog!

    Thanks for hosting
    kherbrand at comcast dot net

  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

  20. I would like to be entered for this book please. You make it sound very good. And I have been a follower for some time now. Thank you.

    sfuhringer (at)sympatico (dot)ca

  21. Oh yes, please enter my name for a chance to win Sonata for Miriam — I adored her first book, Astrid and Veronika!

    I've included this in my Who would like to win a book? post.

    A fan of 'Linda Olsson'? Count me among your followers. Enjoyed your review Staci, thanks!


  22. Great review, Staci! This sounds like something I would like. I'd love to enter the drawing. I do subscribe to your blog through Google Reader, if that counts.


  23. A great review... makes me really want to read this... Thanks for the giveaway.

    debbebennett at yahoo dot com

  24. This book looks great!

  25. Staci, I'd love the chance to win this book. Your review was fantastic!

  26. I'd love to win...I'll plan to add it to the blog tomorrow. :)

  27. Please include me in your giveaway.

  28. sounds like a great book thanks for the giveaway minsthins(at)optonline(dot)net

  29. Sounds like a great book. Thanks for the giveaway. Please enter me.

  30. I would love to win this pls

    jdmimi at gmail dot com

  31. This book looks so good!! Please enter me!!


  32. I love to win books! thanks for the review and giveaway!

    bsyb100 at gmail dot com

  33. Would love to read this book!!


  34. Oh please throw my name in the hat! I loved her book Astrid & Veronika so I definitely want to read this one.

    iliana (at) bookgirl (dot) net

  35. The review looks great, I'd love a chance to read this. Thanks

  36. Sounds like agreat read.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  37. Congrats on your first giveaway!! Isn't it fun?? they are more work than people think, but they certainly are fun. :)

    ~ Wendi
    wbarker at

  38. Love to have this.




Hello Friends!! I want to take this moment to say thank you. Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog and thank you for leaving me a comment.

* Because of the excessive spam I have decided not to allow anonymous users to comment.

Happy Reading!