Black Waltz

“Black Waltz” by Patricia Melo (Brazil)

Synopsis and Review

“Black Waltz”: a dance spiralling into insanity

Jealousy is the focus of this classic psychological thriller by one of Brazil’s most acclaimed writers. A successful conductor of a major symphony orchestra is married to a gifted violinist close to thirty years his junior. But he is haunted by a voice that gnaws at his trust, his love, and ultimately, his sanity.

Reactions to this intriguing book were mixed, but all reactions were strong. Some readers felt it was an accurate depiction of a man’s descent into madness, both horrible and fascinating to watch. The main character’s fluctuations between lucidity and irrationality seemed to ring true. Deciphering reality through his point of view was an intriguing puzzle for some readers. However, other readers felt that the portrayal was too stereotypical. They were disappointed with the complete lack of redeeming qualities of the main character. His inconsistency was viewed as a shortcoming of the novel, as was the lack of development of the other characters. It was agreed that the writing style matched the content and mood of the novel quite well. Short sentences and short chapters contributed to the building tension. The intriguing endings of chapters made readers want to continue. The novel generated much discussion, and was finally given an overall rating of 7 out of 10 from the group.

Nicola’s Book Club reading list 

Season 2 (Sep 2005 – Jan 2006)

“The News from Paraguay” by Lily Tuck (U.S.)
“Welcome to Paradise” by Mahi Binebine (Morocco) *
“The Book of Proper Names” by Amélie Nothomb (Belgium)
“Some Prefer Nettles” by Junichiro Tanizaki (Japan)
“Black Waltz” by Patricia Melo (Brazil)

* The book club favourite
In italics, Nicola’s Coup de Cœur

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