Thursday, May 6, 2021

The Bridgetown Sonata: Sonata Mulattica by Emmanuel Dongala -- BOOK BEGINNINGS


cover of The Bridgetown Sonata: Sonata Mulattica by Emmanuel Dongala


After a whirlwind couple of weeks at work, I can finally catch my breath! Thank heavens! Which means I remembered to put up this Book Beginnings post on time, Thursday evening, for people who like to post early. I've been forgetting to do that -- sorry! 

You do not have to post early. You can post on Friday. You can even come back and add a post any time during the week. 

Book Beginnings on Fridays is a chance for readers to share the first sentence (or so) of the book they are reading that week. You can also share a book you are excited about, even if you aren't reading it right now. 

Please add the link to your Book Beginning blog or social media post in the Linky box below. If you post or share on SM, please use the hashtag #bookbeginnigns. 


From The Bridgetown Sonata: Sonata Mulattica by Emmanuel Dongala, translated by Marjolijn de Jager (2021, Pegasus Books):

Borne by the last arpeggio notes of the final rondo, momentarily suspended above the violin -- the time of an eighth-note rest -- the bow attacked the code of the last movement, the allegro spiritoso, in a dazzling play of shifting and multi-colored cadences whose final very sharp trills were lost in the sound of the full orchestra and the applause of the audience that, having held its breath until then, could no longer restrain itself. 

It is hard to write about music, but that sentence captures the drama of a classical concert. 

George Bridgetower was an 18th Century violin virtuoso and the son of a Black man from the Caribbean. He was a child prodigy who entertained Parisienne high society on the eve of the French Revolution. He then fled to London where he was a court favorite of the Prince of Wales. 

When he moved to Vienna, he became the friend and collaborator of Ludwig Van Beethoven. The two composed the "Sonata Mulattica" together, but Beethoven later changed the name to the "Kreutzer Sonata" when the two had a falling out. 

Emmanuel Dongala's new historical novel brings life to this forgotten story. He makes the most of what is known about Bridgetower's life, telling a fascinating story of race, class, creativity, and friendship in 18th Century Europe.


Please link to your Book Beginnings post in the box below. 

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Freda at Freda's Voice hosts another teaser event on Fridays. Participants share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of the book they are reading -- or from 56% of the way through the audiobook or ebook. Please visit Freda's Voice for details and to leave a link to your post.


From The Bridgetown Sonata:
That was why he'd put on the fine suit he'd set aside the night before. Furthermore, instead of a sword he was wearing his Turkish Saber at his side.


  1. I agree with you about the first sentence. The writing is excellent. Enjoy your current read!

  2. Sounds like a good one! Have a great weekend!

  3. Given the race and class issues of the period, I can imagine this being quite a difficult read, however very interesting and intriguing.

    The writing sounds really expressive, almost lyrical and the translation if it carries on in this ilk, almost faultless!

    I hope that you enjoy the book and have a restful and peaceful weekend :)

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I like the sound of this - fascinating story and well written too.

  6. Not for me but I hope you thoroughly enjoy! Happy weekend!


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