Monday, June 17, 2013

Review - Sight Reading by Daphne Kalotay (5/5)

[The following review is part of the Sight Reading blog tour managed by TLC Book Tours.  The book reviewed was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  For a full list of host blogs for the tour, see the tour page.  For more on Daphne Kalotay and her work, visit her website,]

By Olga Godim

Click here for the Amazon listing
Despite being a bit slow and somewhat ponderous, this novel was among the most powerful I’ve read recently. Its prose is eloquent and luminous; its descriptions lyrical, emphasized by the symbolism on both visual and musical planes. The only flaw I can pinpoint is too much musical vernacular, which is basically incomprehensible to anyone but a musician, although I must admit: there is a glossary at the back. Anyway, it is a minor flaw, pardonable in a book about classical music. I would’ve given it 5 stars for the quality of writing and the deep emotional involvement, if I didn’t dislike one of the protagonists so much. As it is, I had no choice but to drop a star from the rating.

The gist of the plot is fairly banal. At the start of the novel Nicholas, a supremely talented composer, is married to Hazel. They move to Boston, so he can work at the Boston Conservatory, and he falls in love with an ambitious young violinist Remy, one of his students. He divorces Hazel and marries Remy. Then the author follows the three main characters through the next 20 years of their lives.    

Fortunately, the plot is not the focus of this tale. The author concentrates on the characters – Hazel, Nicholas, and Remy – and makes us, the readers, privy to their innermost thoughts, shames, and revelations. We witness their interplays, fret about their mistakes, celebrate their triumphs.

Among the three, Hazel is my heroine. Loyal and kind, with the unerring sense of beauty, she is extremely fragile. It takes her ten years to come to terms with her husband’s betrayal. Drowning in her loneliness, she feels misplaced among couples, ashamed of her “singledom”.
"It was that her aloneness felt like an element of her personality--as if her singledom were a character trait and not simply a situation beyond her control."
She constantly doubts herself, and my heart ached for her. As I read, I wanted to ease her distress, to cheer her up.  I understood her misery and her occasional spite towards Remy. I was glad, when Hazel found contentment towards the end of the novel, although her second marriage felt more a compromise than a love match. How realistic and unfair that Hazel, the most delicate of the three, has been given the least number of pages by the author.

Unlike Hazel, Nicholas is happy with himself most of the time. Generous and charming, he is loved and admired by everyone: your typical absent-minded genius. Imbued with more musical talent than a man can handle, he is often confused in his human interactions. He is absorbed in his music but forgets birthdays and anniversaries. He doesn’t even notice, when his wife cheats on him. His deficiency in the social sphere counterbalances his huge talent, makes him human. He might’ve achieved even more as a musician, if he had a better wife, a woman dedicated to him, instead of a narcissistic, high-maintenance bitch like Remy.

Daphne Kalotay
And that brings me to Remy, my least favorite character and perhaps the most complex. She is the one who grabs the highest number of pages for herself. The lynchpin of the story, she is also the source of everyone’s suffering. The novel revolves around her, and she doesn’t deserve it.  

While Nicholas’s self-centeredness stems from his overflowing talent, Remy’s egotism comes from the opposite end of the spectrum. Her refrain is ‘Not enough!’ It’s not enough for her to be an orchestra member, even in the most prestigious orchestra. She wants to be a star, even though she doesn’t have that elusive divine spark intrinsic to the stars. Frustrated by her inability to achieve stardom, she wants Nicholas as her consolation prize. It is not enough for her to be his friend and student. She wants to be his new wife. His existing wife and daughter are just a minor inconvenience for her.

Although Remy is not intentionally cruel, and the author probably didn’t want to portray her as a predator, Remy is a piece of art, and like any piece of art, she is open to interpretations.  
In my interpretation, I see her as a brazen barracuda who gobbles up everyone in her path, men and women alike, but even that is not enough for her. Her occasional pangs of guilt, the author’s attempt to make Remy more sympathetic, feel unconvincing. Remy has no trouble in shrugging them off and ruthlessly reaching for whatever she craves next. Compassion and empathy are not her forte. Vanity and self-pity are.  

I understand Remy’s perpetual dissatisfaction, I do. She is a gifted artist, and like any artist, she yearns for recognition and self-expression. She perceives her own mediocrity, and it chafes at her. Granted, it’s harder to be a mediocre artist than a mediocre plumber, but in my view, an insufficient gift doesn’t excuse immorality. And Remy’s morals are basically flexible, biased towards herself.

As I read the book, I came to really deplore her, but I suppose my disgust is the highest compliment to the writer. After all, I saw Remy as a living woman. She stirred my hostility. She made me worry about Nicholas, as if he were alive too, and not a creature of words and paragraphs. I turned the pages and wondered: why men always fall for such sluts? I resisted Remy’s allure and her vulnerability. I cursed her petty vindictiveness. She commanded an entire range of my emotions. No reader can ask for more. 

About the Reviewer Olga Godim is a writer and journalist from VancouverCanada.  Her articles appear regularly in local newspapers, but her passion is fiction.  Her short stories have been published in several internet magazines, including Lorelei SignalSorcerous SignalsAoife’s KissSilver Blade, and other publications.  In her free time, she writes novels, collects toy monkeys, and posts book reviews on GoodReads.  Her first novel, Lost and Found in Russia, has just been released from Eternal Press.


  1. This sounds like something I'd enjoy. I think that's an age old question about the men falling for I love it when characters make my blood boil. It makes them unforgettable.
    Great review.

  2. It is certainly a complement to the author that she stirred up such strong emotions in you toward Remy!

    Thanks for being on the tour.

  3. شركة الصفا والمروه لخدمات التنظيف
    شركة تنظيف بالدمام
    شركة تنظيف منازل بالدمام
    شركة تنظيف خزانات بالدمام
    شركة تنظيف مجالس بالدمام
    شركة نقل عفش بالدمام
    شركة رش مبيدات بالدمام
    شركة تسليك مجاري بالدمام
    شركة تنظيف شقق بالدمام
    شركة تنظيف فلل بالدمام
    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام
    شركة كشف تسربات المياة بالدمام

    شركة مكافحة النمل الابيض بالخبر
    شركة تنظيف بالخبر
    شركة كشف تسربات المياة بالخبر
    شركة مكافحة النمل الابيض بالخبر
    شركة تسليك مجاري بالخبر

    شركة تنظيف بالاحساء
    شركة تنظيف بالقطيف
    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام
    شركة تسليك مجاري بالجبيل
    شركة كشف تسربات المياة بالجبيل
    شركة تسليك مجاري بالاحساء
    شركة تسليك مجاري بالرياض
    شركة تسليك مجاري بجدة
    شركة تسليك مجاري بتبوك
    شركة تسليك مجاري بالقطيف
    شركة كشف تسربات المياة بالاحساء
    شركة كشف تسربات المياة بالقطيف
    شركة تسليك مجاري ببقيق
    شركة تسليك مجاري بالطائف

    شركة تسليك مجاري بالباحة
    شركة تسليك مجاري بالخفجي
    شركة تسليك مجاري بعنك-سيهات
    شركة تسليك مجاري بالنعيرية
    شركة مكافحة النمل الابيض بالخبر

    شركة مكافحة النمل الابيض بالدمام
    شركة تسليك مجاري بالدمام


  4. افضل شركة نقل اثاث بالمدينة المنورة تساعدك على نقل اثاثك بامان فلا داعى للقلق مع افضل شركة نقل اثاث بجدة

    عزيزى العميل انت من محبى التنقل باستمرار بالتالى انت بحاجة ماسة وضروية الى الاستعانة بالمختصين في نقل العفش خاصة ارخص شركة نقل اثاث بالرياض لان الاستعانة باى من عمالة الشوارع الغير مدربة والتي لا تمتلك خبرة كافية في نقل العفش او الحفاظ علية وليس هذا فقط فقد يؤدى الاستعانة بعمالة الشوارع الى حدوث حالة فقدان وتكسير للاثاث بالتالى التاثير الضار عليك عزيزى العميل

    لا تقلق مطلقاً الان بشأن نقل اي منقولات خاصة بك طالما استعنت بشركة الاول لـ نقل الأثاث في الرياض وخارج الرياض فنحن ليس الوحيدون ولكننا متميزون عن اى مؤسسة أخرى داخل وخارج الدمام وشهرتنا كافضل شركة نقل عفش بينبع
    نقل اثاث بجدة

  5. Dear, I like your blog very much, I can get many useful information. Hope that we can communicate with each other. By the way, have you ever used windows 7 clone hard drive ? Unfortunately I lost my partition. I do not know how to do.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Residential Cleansing Service

    Dry cleaning is any cleansing course of for clothing and textiles utilizing a chemical solvent other than water It is used to clean fabrics that degrade in water may possibly eradicate labor-intensive hand washing. Folks show up when they're presupposed to. There's good communication between the supervisor and the shop. Ifeany is so good that we just lately افضل شركة تنظيف مساجد بالرياض hired him for our office as properly. As a property management firm, it's necessary to us to have the ability to present a dependable service to our prospects. LynneJean's workforce expertise and training. We so you'll at all times know when to anticipate us. You can at all times call or electronic mail us must you want our help in between scheduled cleansing providers. If for any reason تنظيف المسبح من التراب
    Engaging flyer template with textual content and graphic design to advertise special provides for home cleansing, workplace cleansing, or different professional cleansing service. Certainly, doing so will help you create a profitable and skilled picture, but before you start purchasing شركة تنظيف قصور بالرياض for an workplace, think carefully about what you may need. The excellent maids maintain in home cleaning and condominium cleansing

    the Institute for Service Excellence announced its designation as the one IICRC-authorised faculty for the House معدات تنظيف واجهات المباني Cleansing Technician certification A licensed Home Cleansing Technician is educated to properly look after each properties and well being.

    guarantee them that you already know what you're doing and that you are fairly able مكنسة المسبح to cleaning their dwelling to their specifications. Get our cleansing services and make your property absolutely clear with great security.
    To find how our skilled home cleaners will give you a clean dwelling tailor-made to your preferences, contact your native Molly Maid in the present مشروع تنظيف واجهات المباني day. Or hold your full time job and start out part time. Punctuality and a smile will go a long solution to creating lengthy- With a reasonable value and outstanding customer support, hiring us will probably be a terrific صيانة مكيفات بالرياض decision. No matter must be done, your cleaner takes on any process! Usually a separate company is employed for the window cleaning of high-rise office buildings

  8. If you are looking for tailoring tutorials and tips on making Applique visit our web, Visit here,,,!!!! when you want to see our web freshcutquilts

  9. I’m truly enjoying the design and layout of your site. It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire monster high games out a developer to create your theme? Great work!

  10. Robin Williams Celebrity Profile - Check out the latest Robin Williams photo gallery, biography, pics, pictures, interviews, news, forums and blogs at Celebrity Ping!

  11. شركة نقل عفشعزيزي الزبون لا تحتار في التواصل بـ مؤسسة نقل اثاث بالعاصمة السعودية لترى كل ما لدينا من خدمات وعروض ومميزات، نحن نوفر فريق كامل ومتكامل من خدمة الزبائن ليستقبلوا اتصالات الزبائن على مدار اليوم والإجابة على جميع استفساراتهم وتحديد مواقيت الشغل وإمضاء عقد الاتفاق، نحن نوفر أسعار غير منتظر وقوعها لعملائنا ونقوم بنشر عروض وتخفيضات عبر موقعنا المخصص فتابعها عزيزي الزبون لتتمتع بأحد هذه العروض وتستمتع بتخفيضات غير منتظر وقوعها وخدمة ممتازة وعلى أعلى مستوى مع حماية وحفظ مقتنياتكم. مؤسسة نقل أثاث بالعاصمة السعودية نقل اثاث


  12. شركة تنظيف في الكويت شركة تنظيف في الكويت
    فني صحي فني صحي
    سباك الكويت سباك الكويت

    شركة تنظيف كنب الكويت شركة تنظيف كنب الكويت
    ادوات صحيه الكويت ادوات صحيه الكويت
    شركة غسيل سجاد الكويت شركة غسيل سجاد الكويت
    فني كهربائي منازل الكويت فني كهربائي منازل الكويت

    شركة تنظيف في الكويت شركة الكويت سيرفيس