After the Death of Shostakovich Père

Shostakovich cover.jpg

Not all ghosts exact revenge or induce terror. Some emerge from a miasma of grief; sad themselves, they spread sorrow. Or perhaps those left behind—daughters and sons—create the ghost of a father, trying to find what’s surely been lost. Following the four-movement structure of Shostakovich’s Suite for Two Pianos and using a mosaic of story, memoir, photographs, literary analysis, and her own father’s journals, Maya Sonenberg’s After the Death of Shostakovich Père is an extended lyric meditation on the death of fathers, both biological and artistic, and the ways in which haunting can produce art.

If you followed along with the score of Dmitri Shostakovich’s Suite for Two Pianos, you might arrive at/After the Death of Shostakovich Père.
A chording of song, art, and elegy, Maya Sonenberg is a master of tone and rhythm, sorrow and vision—and then the chord resolves itself, and it
is revelatory.

-Lily Hoang, aAuthor of Changing and A Bestiary

Hermes made the lyre out of a tortoise shell, cattle horns, and catgut, transforming dead animal parts into a sublime musical instrument. Wily Maya Sonenberg here transgresses her own set of categories, generates in her shape-shifting prose of After the Death of Shostakovich Pere, her own lyric, braided Sonenbergian book of remembered memory music. Like The Rings of Saturn (the book, yes, but also the phenomenon of nature) this collage of star-dusted debris and despair is woven into a worldly and wordly accessory, that signifies the grave mystery of gravity at the same time it defies, with the lightest of touches, the weight and the wait of the world it encircles—all its graves and even entropy itself. Bones, viscera, guts (the organic plastic we inhabit) are turned into the eternally ethereal.

-Michael Martone, author of Michael Martone and Winesburg, Indiana


Read Daniel Casey’s generous review here. [So sorry–this link seems to be broken!]

And Barton Smock’s generous review here.

And Katharine Coldiron’s generous review here.

And Kim Loomis-Bennett’s here.

And Adam Crittenden’s here.

This latest review of After the Death of Shostakovich Père by Leonard Temme is more than I could ever have asked for. When I used Shostakovich’s piano duet to structure this book, I suspected that structure would be a scaffolding just for me, but this review gets it, and I’m so grateful for this careful reading of my work.

There’s a new, kind, and spot-on review by Tom Griffen in the spring 2020 issue of the Laurel Review. Print only but many many thanks for keeping interest in this little book alive!

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