By Eva Hoffman
272 pages; Other Press
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.