Night Song


This Holocaust story of sacrifice and survival pays artful tribute to its message “that without remembrance, there can be no future.” Christian novelist Goyer follows three storylines—that of a wealthy Austrian ambassador’s daughter abruptly parted from her American boyfriend on the night he plans to propose marriage, a family of gifted musicians caught in the grip of the Nazis, and a failed mystical-bent musician turned SS confiscator of instruments. Uniting them all is an amber-toned violin, which goes from object of desire to become almost another character as their lives converge around it.

From its lyrical modern-set opening concert, to its tight pacing and exciting conclusion, Night Song stands out. Its characters grow and deepen through their trials. Although some details clink (lots of Nancy Drew-like spying from hiding places, being “unconscious” for two days and, note to Christian editors: please outlaw the use of “relationship” and “scoot”!), many resonate. When Jakub pushes the funeral cart at his concentration camp at Terezin, he finds it a good job in that the crematorium is the “warmest spot in the frozen city.” Evie observes, while working as a secretary at Mauthausen, that “Death could be perfectly typed.”

That two heroic Jewish characters convert to Christianity seemed both tacked on and perfunctory. The lovers’ reunification elicits the twin thoughts of “she’s beautiful” and “she’s mine” from our hero. This may disappoint. But for the most part Night Song, in its dark beauty and testimony, enchants.



Share this review

Buy "The Beggar at the Gate & Other Stories" for £2.05 (Kindle edition)

12 of the best stories selected from the 2012 Historical Novel Society Short Story Award







(US) $12.99

(US) 0802415555