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Extended Audio Sample And After the Fire: A Novel, by Lauren Belfer Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Lauren Belfer Narrator: Simon Vance, Xe Sand Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The New York Times bestselling author of A Fierce Radiance and City of Light returns with a new powerful and passionate novel—inspired by historical events—about two women and the mysterious choral masterpiece by Johann Sebastian Bach that changes both their lives.

In the ruins of Germany in 1945, at the end of World War II, American soldier Henry Sachs takes a souvenir, an old music manuscript, from a seemingly deserted mansion and mistakenly kills the girl who tries to stop him.

In America in 2010, Henry’s niece, Susanna Kessler, struggles to rebuild her life after she experiences a devastating act of violence on the streets of New York City. When Henry dies soon after, she uncovers the long-hidden music manuscript. She becomes determined to discover what it is and to return it to its rightful owner, a journey that will challenge her preconceptions about herself and her family’s history—and also offer her an opportunity to make peace with the past.

In Berlin in 1796, amid the city’s glittering salons where aristocrats and commoners, Christians and Jews, mingle freely despite simmering anti-Semitism, Sara Itzig Levy, a renowned musician, conceals the manuscript of an anti-Jewish cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach, an unsettling gift to her from Bach’s son, her teacher. This work and its disturbing message will haunt Sara and her family for generations to come.

Interweaving the stories of Susanna and Sara, and their families, And After the Fire traverses over two hundred years of history, from the eighteenth century through the Holocaust and into today, seamlessly melding past and present, real and imagined. Lauren Belfer’s deeply researched, evocative, and compelling narrative resonates with emotion and immediacy.

Weaving together the stories of Susanna and Sara, Lauren Belfer creates a majestic narrative that spans lifetimes and continents, encompassing both the best and the worst of the human spirit. The cantata’s troubled, riveting journey reveals that the two women have more in common than the score, and what Susanna learns may be what finally allows her to heal and move on.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A ‘what if’ novel that begins in the glittering salons of fin-de-siècle Berlin where, beneath the surface, are sentiments too sinister to be named and culminating in New York present day, And After the Fire is an intellectual thriller and a beautiful love story. What if you came into possession of an historical artifact with the power to alter history and change the world? Sure to establish Belfer as a fearless, provocative writer. Impossible to put down.”

    Sara Gruen, #1 New York Times bestselling author

  • “Brilliant and mesmerizing…Since reading And After the Fire, I’ve been trumpeting it as the best novel I’ve had the pleasure of reading in years.”

    Elinor Lipman, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Belfer’s novel roams from the salons of cultured Jewish patrons of the arts in eighteenth-century Berlin, to hushed Ivy League libraries, where vicious scholarly rivalries of the present play out. And After the Fire explores the vexing question of whether art can be simultaneously beautiful and hateful. A heavy subject for summer reading, but Belfer’s novel…managed to dazzle while delving into dark places.”

    NPR’s Fresh Air

  • “An invaluable piece of music poses ethical questions in this compelling blend of fact and fiction…Based on impressive research, this remarkable novel spans centuries and continents, touching finally on the Holocaust and serving as a paean to Bach’s music…Absorbing historical fiction.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Blending the gorgeousness of Bach and the horror of antisemitism over several centuries should make for unsettling contemplation, and readers of Belfer’s know that the author will be meticulous with both fact and fiction.”

    Library Journal

  • “A remarkably suspenseful story, a literary thriller in the tradition of A. S. Byatt’s Possession.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A Library Journal Audio-in-Advance Pick
  • A NPR Pick of First-rate Thrillers for Summer 2016
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