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Seven Touches of Music [Hardcover]

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Item description for Seven Touches of Music by Zoran Zivkovic...

Thisexperimental mosaic novel by a Serbian author---who is often compared to such luminaries as Italo Calvino, Franz Kafka, and Jorge Luis Borges---consists of seven wispily-connected stories about unexpected encounters with music.A teacher of autistic students, a librarian, thepurchaser of a music box, an elderly womanat a train station, a scientist-turned-painter, a dying professor, and a violin-maker's apprentice seem deceptively ordinary until sudden shifts in time or place thrust them into a realm where all the conventional ways ofappreciating music seem not to apply.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   160
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.9" Width: 5.6" Height: 0.7"
Weight:   0.65 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Sep 30, 2006
Publisher   Aio Publishing Company
ISBN  1933083042  
ISBN13  9781933083049  

Availability  0 units.

More About Zoran Zivkovic

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Zoran Zivkovic is the author of "The Book/The Writer, The Devil in Brisbane, The Fourth Circle, Hidden Camera," and "Seven Touches of Music," He is the recipient of the World Fantasy and the Milos Crnjanski Awards, was a two-time finalist for the International Dublin Literary and the Yugoslavian NIN Awards, and has been named a Guest of Honor for EuroCon 2007. His work has been published in 17 countries, broadcast on BBC radio, produced for television, and optioned for film.

Zoran Zivkovic was born in 1948.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Short Stories
3Books > Subjects > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > General
4Books > Subjects > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Anthologies
5Books > Subjects > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Seven Touches of Music?

Very good collection of common-theme stories!  Jan 8, 2008
Aio has been very kind to send me more books to review. I received two books by Mr. Zivkovic and decided to get into Seven Touches of Music first. Seven Touches of Music is a collection of stories that are connected only by theme, and translated from Zivkovic's native Serbian. Each involves music in some way. It bares some similarities to The Steam Magnate by Dana Copithorne in that it flirts with the edges of reality and fantasy, but it does lean more to the magical realism side than Copithorne's novel. We're presented with a series of phenomenons in which music acts as a catalyst. I'll divide my thoughts to each of the seven stories first, and then give a sort of conclusion of thoughts.

* The Whisper: As the first story in the collection, this one had to set the stage and get me involved in what was going on. And it did. The story follows a doctor who is working with autistic children. He's watching their habits and, in a way, trying to help them. When he brings music into the mix a very interesting reaction occurs. I won't ruin the story, because this is certainly my favorite of all seven. It really pulled me in and got me thinking about these autistic kids and just how the music might be affecting them. This is the crown jewel of the collection I think.
* The Fire: This is one of the most bizarre stories in the collection and the one that crosses furthest into the fantasy realm. Mrs. Martha lives a somewhat dull life as a librarian when music, something that never seemed to affect her before, sparks a strange phenomenon that allows her to actually look into the Library of Alexandria (or what feels like it). I really enjoyed this story too and I felt saddened by the ending, which you can probably guess ends in a less than happy way.
* The Cat: I'm not really a cat person, but I'm not an anti-cat person either. Well, neither is Mr. Oliver, who is left with his wife's cat after her untimely death. During the story he starts to get involved in many of the things that her wife used to do that he had never thought to be so important. Here, music comes in the form of a music box that 'magically' allows him to see a past, or a future, that could have existed. Most of my problems with this story had nothing to do with the story itself, but more with how each of the stories in the collection began. I'll talk about that later. Once you get into this story it turns out to be a very cute story about a man who is trying to come to terms with the death of his wife and develop a relationship with a cat that really never wanted anything to do with him in the first place (and he never wanted anything to do with the cat either).
* The Waiting Room: The waiting room is a place that has an very magical, frightening effect for Miss Adele--it gives her visions of violent futures for the inhabitants when she is exposed to music. What makes this more phenomenon than pure fantasy is that this is something I can imagine happening in a subway waiting area or in a train station waiting room. There are crazy people out there. Is Miss Adele crazy, though? I don't know. She might be. We're led to believe her visions are real, but if you think about it from the outside, she would seem like a lunatic. That's probably one of the interesting aspects of the story--a sense of ambiguity.
* The Puzzle: Art and music go hand in hand, as many would agree, and that is a theme that presents itself in this story. Mr. Adam has a very set routine in life. He does certain things on certain days for a certain amount of time and gets annoyed when certain things, like music, poke into his pre-designed time. But, as is a theme throughout the book, music will have strange effects on different people. For Mr. Adam, it's to paint, and paint, and paint. What is he painting? Well, it's a puzzle, sorta. We're never really told exactly what it is, or what it might be. It's abstraction at its abstract-able best.
* The Violinist: This is the most depressing story in the lot. It starts with a patient, the professor, who is basically going to die no matter what. Every night he takes a blue pill, goes into a sort of stupor and falls asleep, presumably to make sure his nights are comfortable. But one night things happen differently. He takes the pill and is suddenly swept into the past, where he learns something that we're not really told about. Whatever it is, it has something to do with a violin. I think this might be the weakest of the stories, as it doesn't tell us much in the end.
* The Violin-maker: This is probably my second favorite simply because it really delves into the main character, who is the apprentice of the violin-maker. The story begins with the suicide of the violin-maker and follows the apprentice as he deals with the rumors of what really happened, all the while holding a secret of his own. I enjoyed this story mostly because it touched on the character in a more personal way than many of the others, or so it felt to me. It also seemed to diverge from the somewhat formulaic feel of many of the other stories, which added significantly to the feel.

The overall feel for the novel is that it is quite good. The stories are pretty decent, some of them exceptional as I mentioned in the individual reviews. One of the major flaws I felt was that many of the stories seem to start in the exact same way. Mr., Ms., or Mrs. somebody lives some way and has a certain feeling about music and that is changed in some way when some strange phenomenon occurs. Much of this could have something to do with the translation, and I did take that into account when I was reading. I wonder how the stories feel to Serbian natives who have read them in the original language.
Regardless of that flaw, I found myself drawn into most of the stories, some more than others. With the exception of one story, they are all really good and had me thinking about music. How much of this book has happened to someone out there? Music is an influential art form and I can't lie and say that it hasn't had an effect on me, so I can imagine that somewhere out there is someone who has had visions or strange happenings occur because of music. Realism is part of what makes this a very good collection of stories. These are borderline genre stories, though, more so than The Steam Magnate was, as so many of these could fit into a literary fiction journal somewhere without causing the academia to have a fit. With Aio, I think that is the point. They seem to be publishing works that would please the literary academia and maybe secretly get them to love genre fiction.
Score two for Aio, by the way. Two of their books have been fabulous!
Do not judge this book by its cover?  Oct 12, 2006
Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson for Reader Views (9/06)

I am certain everybody has heard the old adage "Do not judge the book by its cover..." many times. Well, in the case of Zoran Zivkovic's "Seven Touches of Music" you would not be wrong if you would do just that.

Aptly subtitled a mosaic novel, this book very much resembles its cover. The cover is black, the overall design unusual and quite beautiful. This darkness is pierced with just a touch of glimmer - the metallic green letters of the title. Even the edges of the book are black.

All seven of the stories in this novel are black as well - very dark, very powerful and very beautiful at times. They all talk about more or less ordinary people - a teacher, a library employee, a widower, an old lady traveling to see her sister, a pensioner, a professor and an apprentice to a violin maker. The stories are short and vivid, connected by music as a magical and sometimes slightly super-natural phenomenon. The language, which is quite terse at moments, flows beautifully. They all seem to share something flimsy and vaguely tangible. It might be the solitude that seems to be a common denominator for all of the protagonists, or maybe the fleeting moment of strange enlightenment they all seemed to have at some point in time. Each of the stories left me just slightly puzzled and feeling vaguely blue. Maybe I should have listened to music while reading them...

My favorite of the seven is "The Cat," a story of a widower who starts to visit second-hand shops after his wife's death. On one of his visits he discovers an old music box. He does not really like it, but he feels compelled to buy it since he tripped over it. He takes it home and ... Strange things began to happen and for a fleeting moment he sees an alternative to his past life. It is definitely a haunting image...

"Seven Touches of Music" is a beautifully written book that I'd highly recommend to lovers of good fiction and anybody who does not mind thinking a bit while reading a book.
powerfully dark fascinating seven somewhat interrelated short stories   Oct 9, 2006
"The Whisper". Dr. Martin had five learning disabilities students including autistic six years old Phillip. Dr. Martin brings in a recording of a Chopin Concerto that leads to Phillip providing a physics response involving the fine-structure constant.

"The Fire". Lonely Mrs. Martha suddenly envisions the Library of Alexandria where somehow she obtains a lost book during the inferno.

"The Cat". Mr. Oliver never visited second hand shops until after his wife, a frequenter of those establishments, died. That is where his late spouse bought Oscar the Cat who reluctantly trusts the old man to feed him. When Mr. Oliver brings home a music box that trust is tested as ghosts of his loved ones suddenly visit.

"The Waiting Room". Miss Adele hates to travel, but plans to take the five hour train ride to see her ailing sister Mrs. Teresa. In the waiting room, an old man plays an organ grinder as she sees the apparition of her sister.

"The Puzzle". After retiring from the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence project, Mr. Adams feels compelled to paint when he listens to music in the local park though he had no artistic inclination during his first sixty-five years of life.

"The Violinist". The Professor knows he will die tonight. When he hears a violin playing, he goes back six decades to when he was a lad in Italy practicing on a violin.

"The Violin-Maker". Inspector Muratori assumes violin-maker Mr. Tomasi committed suicide while his assistant Mr. Umbertini knows his employer had completed the perfect violin before dying, but defected as it was built incorrectly.

These fascinating seven somewhat interrelated short stories are powerfully dark tales that focus on communication or lack of as universal secrets unfold. This reviewer read the contributions as separate entities though by the final tale the complex link will have cleverly completed its crescendo.

Harriet Klausner
Seven Touches of Imagiantion  Sep 18, 2006
More superb story-telling from Zoran!! Seven short stories, each long on imagination - makes this a wonderfully entertaining read. Zoran's style is to pull you into the unexpected experiences of his main characters and before you know it you have been taken along for an incredible ride and dropped off who knows where. In Zoran's story collections there is always a strand that flows slightly through each, although it may not be obvious. Of course each story in this collection involves a theme of music in some way, large or small, but see if you can find some other less obvious ties that are also there. The endings may not resolve all your questions but will certainly launch your thoughts in new directions. And all of this is packaged in a very attractive small format hardback book that would look nice in anyone's collection - and at a paperback price. Bravo Zoran, well done once again! Give it a chance and let Zoran tells you some new stories, I am sure that you won't be disappointed.

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