Adagio, accelerando—words that mark the way music moves through time and, in Eva Hoffman's acute new novel, Appassionata
, describe the dynamic of human emotion, the subtle "vocabulary of the soul." Isabel Merton is a brilliant concert pianist, a medium who transmits the passions of Mozart and Chopin through her fingertips. Unmoored from her marriage, on tour in Europe, she meets Anzor, a charismatic Chechen exile. Their romance is hardly unexpected, but Hoffman's eloquent insights into "the intimate history of violence" ring startlingly true.
— Cathleen Medwick