The Fallen Nightingale
Original title: El rossinyol abatut
Author: John W. Milton
Barcelona, 1899, the new century arrives with a cultural eruption. The art of Pablo Picasso, the music of Isaac Albéniz, the virtuosity of Pablo Casals, the astonishing designs of Antoni Gaudí. Yet beneath the surface glow embers of factional strife, which will later ignite the Spanish Civil War. And beyond the Pyrenees, across Europe, nations are arming, lurching toward the First World War.
Enrique Granados, a piano virtuoso, struggles to support his family with music lessons, dreaming of a time when his talent will be recognized. When there will be enough time to perform and compose. Until then, he will endure years of frustration, betrayal, rejection, and serious illness. Along the way, he’ll meet a legendary opera tenor who’s fond of sketching, a gourmand general who saves Paris from the German invasion, a barefoot dancer with a legion of heartbroken suitors, an Austrian violinist who’s wounded by charging Cossacks on the Russian front, a pianist who becomes Prime Minister of Poland, and a United States President who aspires to be the world’s peacemaker and signs his national anthem off key. History and fiction merge seamlessly in this riveting historical novel. Milton has vividly captured the life of Granados, a musical genius for whom recognition was especially elusive.
With a striking sense of period detail, he glowingly evokes a distant place and time. The Fallen Nightingale is a luminous work, infused with a historian’s exactitude, conjuring up the cultural essence of Barcelona, and taking the reader from the coast of north-eastern Spain to Paris, New York, Washington and London. Milton’s novel is a feast for lovers of art, music, biography, and history. Yet it has all the stuff of a potboiler: intrigue, romance and affairs, dynamic dialogue, disease and death, dalliances of the rich and famous, storms at sea, and the disasters of war.
ENGLISH | Swan Books/Beaver’s Pond Press
CATALAN | Pagès Editors
SPANISH | Milenio
Independent Publishers Book Award 2005 (Historical Fiction Category)