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A Night of Music: Stories

Night of Music(The Ecco Press, 1989)

A Night of Music is about people, about the accumulation of events and possessions that can explain or betray them. Some escaped unscathed but many do not. A woman searches for the meaning of “mother” and “daughter” in an aged photograph of her grandmother, steeped in family legend, in “The Gittel.” A young Mexican girl holds a Victrola in her lap and is both witness and participant as her mother and her new lover begin a slow dance on a train moving through California. A brilliant accompanist measures the intentions of achievement and success in “The World is Full of Virtuosos.” These stories are rich with a keen participation in the details of childhood, religion, family, and home; a score filled with drama, pathos, tragedy, and the joy that lies beneath the rhythm of lives.

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“Sandor has an honest imagination and shares its discoveries with skill and care.”
—Robert Minkoff, The New York Times Book Review

“Marjorie Sandor has all the skills of a masterful writer of stories, but her compassion and beguiling tone are all her own. Her distinctive style and rich understanding of people raise our hopes.”
—Guy Davenport

“Sandor’s first collection of short fiction reveals how people at various stages of life seek to understand often ambiguous or inexplicable events that become crucial milestones in their existence. In the poignant, delicate “Victrola,” a child observes the accommodation her husbandless, Mexican mother makes for a new, perhaps better, life. The title story features a nine-year-old girl watching her parents and her uncle in a drama of costumes and music she will not understand until much later. In “The Gittel,” a Jewish woman’s innocent dream of returning to her childhood home in Berlin is shattered by an ominous challenge to her passport. The stories are rich in pathos and joy, skillful in technique.”
Publishers Weekly

“Told by daughter, granddaughter, or niece, these stories are yearning, youthful, observant, embellished by time and imagination and polished to a fine, dark gleam. “The Gittel” is a Jewish family tale about a grandmother who is a doomed dreamer, “an innocent whose confused imagination cannot keep up with the civilized world”–the world, as it turns out, of Nazi Germany. By contrast, the wily Mexican woman in “Victrola” pursues her dream to escape joyfully through seduction and survival. “Still Life” and the enchanting title piece are romantic family stories about dreamers whose lives are mysterious or free, particularly to the younger generation.”
—Library Journal