War and Music: A Medley of Love
Ty Hale, a young soldier from New Mexico, is left by his unit in a grain field in Normandy after being knocked unconscious. As he grasps the situation, a hellish scene of bloody bodies surrounds him. Confused and battered, he gathers himself together to search for his unit.
At a country estate he meets Philippe Gaston, a music teacher, and his attractive daughter, Renee. Also there is Hans, a talented musical prodigy and German deserter. The four become quick friends and their love of music is shared. Renee and Ty fall in love. All four have a passion for music as it provides a cocoon of comfort while the grim gore of battle continues around them.
Max Evans describes the grisly stage of war as a symphony of sounds: the pleading painful cries of the wounded become a “serenade of devastation.” “The loudest sound amid the medleys of war is that rarest of moments when all is quiet, impossibly quiet.”
The book contains excessive, intrusive forced metaphors; with sometimes little sense, they interrupt what otherwise would be beautiful writing. For example: “He was drawn to the house as he must have been drawn to his mother’s breast soon after birth” and “The three males were as dead as childhood dreams.”
War and Music is a contrast, the horrific and gruesome vision of battlefield carnage with the haunting sounds of a soldiers suffering. This is not a book for those with a weak stomach for gore, but if you can persist, his message of hope is shared with those who have a love of music that transcends the reality of the moment.