A Review of A Greater Music by Bae Suah, trans. Deborah Smith
Reading Bae Suah’s novel, A Greater Music, is much like the experience of listening to the concertos of Beethoven. I listened to Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2, mentioned in the novel, and heard a fluty playfulness in the music that does not match the pensive mood in the prose; however, the novel resonates with a serious, philosophical intensity. Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3, on the other hand, is simply grand. In A Greater Music, Suah’s young narrator muses upon many of the grand, existential themes of life: love, friendship, betrayal, freedom, memory, and death.