Friday, March 21, 2014
Allegra, by Shelley Hrdlitschka
It's a good story and I enjoyed reading it in spite of two systemic problems. The first is the challenge of describing a musical composition in prose. Without being able to hear the beauty of it, we are stuck with the author's descriptions (and there are only so many times one can read how incredible the music is before the assertions fall flat). The other issue is the plotting of the story. The core of the story (Allegra's relationship with her teacher) builds in tension but never resolves, ending in a bit of a literary whimper. Similarly, the subplots (her dancing career, tensions with friends, a might-be romance with a classmate, and the pending separation of her parents) all peter out without resolution. This left me at the end with a sense that the story was unfinished.