Five-Part Invention

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What to expect

When Lise, a pianist, suffers a nervous breakdown early in her marriage, her husband, in a warped act of protection and jealousy, has her piano taken away. With prose that is precise and emotionally affecting, Andrea J. Buchanan vividly renders how Lise’s separation from her one source of expression and fulfillment cascades into her relationship with her daughter, leaving a legacy of trauma that echoes through the generations to come. Characters emerge broken and passionate, jagged, and yet hopeful and emotionally resonant, written in a way that only Buchanan, herself a conservatory-trained pianist, could achieve. Spanning five generations of women, Five-Part Invention wrestles with the question—if trauma echoes through generations, can love echo too? Is the love we transmit enough to undo the trauma of the past that we unwittingly carry with us and often re-enact in the present? By turns frightening and exquisitely observed, Five-Part Invention establishes Buchanan as a literary force.

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