Title: Conductor, The
Authors: Quigley, Sarah
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 300
Year: 2011
Publisher: Vintage Books
Language: English
Description: In June 1941, Nazi troops march on Leningrad and surround it. Hitler's plan is to shell, bomb and starve the city into submission. Most of the cultural elite are evacuated early in the siege, but Dmitri Shostakovich, the most famous composer in Russia, stays on to defend his city, digging ditches and fire-watching. At night he composes a new work. But after Shostakovich and his family are foced to evacuate, only Karl Eliasberg - a shy and difficult man, conductor of the second-rate radio orchestra - and an assortment of musicians are left behind in Leningrad to face an unendurable winter and start rehearsing the finished score of Shostakovich's Leningrad symphony. What's Hot - July 2013

Comments from Groups:

This was our 'top choice' for 2013...We felt the book was well researched and conveyed the atmosphere of time and place. Christchurch 277

The writers skills and links to historical fact, the writing of the symphony and the intense characterization were all applauded. Timaru 007

Very positive comments from the group, in particular the way the main characters were depicted...It brought up comparisons with 'The Cellist of Sarajevo'. Napier 016

This book was the highlight of our year. Discussion was dynamic and forthcoming. Lower Hutt 011

Categories: Fiction - New Zealand, Faction, Historical, Tragedy/disaster, Russia, What's Hot, Blind Foundation book


[Please log in to write a review]
By: QUEEN 010 2018-11-19 15:01:56
There was a mixed reaction to the book. Some of us felt that it was too slow and there wasn't much of a story. One member loved it, and highlighted individual sentences that stood out for her! We all warmed to Elias by the end of the book. We also appreciated how Sarah Quigley had written the book in four parts, the same as the symphony.

By: AUCK 063 2018-11-19 14:58:47
Pretty neatly divided between those of us who loved the writing, the history and the characterisations - and those who found it dense and unbearably cold!

By: TAUR 049 2018-11-19 14:57:07
Great book, enjoyed by all. Impressive writing by Sarah Quigley with excellent character development and just enough understated references to the political realities of the regime to convey its repressive nature...

By: PALMN 012 2018-11-19 14:53:44
An outstanding novel. Much discussion about the siege of Leningrad and the terrible life of the population. Amazing how Shostakovich was able to compose his works under such conditions.

By: HAMIL 004 2018-11-19 14:51:35
We all loved this book.

By: WELL 016 2018-11-19 14:51:05
Most of us enjoyed the book despite the gruesome aspects. We thought it was well-written.

By: LEITH 001 2018-11-19 14:49:57
Generally enjoyed by the group. We felt the horrors of the siege were almost worse to imagine given that the descriptions were relatively low key. Some engaging passages and a pleasure to read a book whose author uses language to good effect.

By: DUNED 029 2018-11-19 14:45:28
Everyone really appreciated this book. We felt the author interwove fact and fiction very well. Excellent dialogue and characterisation. Introduced us to Shostakovich's 7th Symphony. Recommended.

By: CAMB 002 2018-11-19 14:42:42
Good discussion and several members took the opportunity to listen to the symphony.

By: CHCH 378 2018-08-23 17:19:11
Most of the group loved this book but we have read several books on the war this year so they found it a bit hard going. Generally though most of us enjoyed it.

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