This week, we feature an incisive analysis of the Goths’ sacking of Rome and an endearing novel about a boy saved from grief by a musical genius.
From Grief to the Solace of Faith
‘The Great Passion’
By James Runcie
It’s 1727 and 13-year-old Stefan Silbermann is grieving the loss of his mother. When he’s sent to school in Leipzig, her absence plagues him further. Then, the school’s cantor, Johann Sebastian Bach, hears beauty in his voice and his life is forever changed.
Bloomsbury Publishing, 2022, 272 pages
A Meeting of Passions and Ideas
By A.S. Byatt
Two modern literary researchers, Maud Bailey and Roland Mitchell, explore the tangled lives of two Victorian poets, Randolph Ash and Christabel LaMotte. Byatt’s novel is jam-packed with poetry, letters, mystery, and love thwarted and found, all of which should delight lovers of literature. Back and forth we go between these two couples, who struggle to find their way through attachment and emotion. Over this story, too, hangs a cloud: the “cunning” of love and fate. This is a perfect read for autumn evenings….