Monday, August 11, 2008
The Music Teacher
By Barbara Hall
This is a book that is rather hard for me to define. It is, most of all, a book about a woman that never really knew who she was. Even by age forty, Pearl was unable to define herself with any confidence. It seemed to me that she was moving purposelessly through life, waiting for someone else to tell her what her life's purpose was to be. This was perhaps due to the fact that she was allowed to drift through her childhood without the anchor of love and security that she craved.
An intuitive and empathetic woman, she taught music in a small music store. The other characters were mostly other musicians who put in some time working behind the counter of this small independent music shop. They were an idiosyncratic crew, brilliant like so many artists, and flawed like all people everywhere. Rather than developing any close friendships, they seemed to be at odds with each other, for the most part.
Pearl's interaction with the children that she taught was an important aspect of this novel . She came closest to feeling as if she could define herself when she was teaching. Without a doubt she was a caring teacher at times. Other times found her as much at odds with her students as she was with her colleagues.
The characters are compelling and rich. For this reason, it is well worth reading. The story itself is well told and a bonus.