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The Time of Our Singing
RICHARD POWERS

The Time of Our Singing by Richard Powers
47 reviews (2003) (640p)
National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction Finalist

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Book Description
On Easter day, 1939, at Marian Anderson's epochal concert on the Washington Mall, David Strom, a German Jewish émigré scientist, meets Delia Daley, a young Philadelphia Negro studying to be a singer. Their mutual love of music draws them together, and—against all odds and better judgment—they marry. They vow to raise their children beyond time, beyond identity, steeped only in song. Jonah, Joseph, and Ruth grow up, however, during the Civil Rights era, coming of age in the violent 1960s, and living out adulthood in the racially retrenched late century. Jonah, the eldest, "whose voice could make heads of state repent," follows a life in his parents' beloved classical music. Ruth, the youngest, devotes herself to community activism and repudiates the white culture her brother represents. Joseph, the middle child and the narrator of this generation-bridging tale, struggles to find himself and remain connected to them both.


Amazon.com Review
In some respects, Richard Powers's The Time of Our Singing is just a big, absorbing drama about an American family, with the typical ingredients of an immigrant parent and some social obstacles--in this case, a biracial marriage in the Civil Rights era--to be overcome by the talented children. But Powers's lyrical gifts lift this material far above its familiar subject matter. His descriptions of music alone will transport the reader. The Strom family were raised with this common language: "Our parents' Crazed Quotations game played on the notion that every moment's tune had all history's music box for its counterpoint. On any evening in Hamilton Heights, we could jump from organum to atonality without any hint of all the centuries that had died fiery deaths between them." The central figure of this novel is the dazzling Jonah, who makes a life from singing, and who may be the only person around him who regards his racial heritage as irrelevant to his ambitions. Powers's is such a fertile writer, however, that he can't stay with any single story, but plunges into pages and pages of family and social histories. The result is a rambling, resonant, fearless novel that pulls the reader along in its wake. --Regina Marler


Other Award Winning Books by Richard Powers
Generosity by Richard Powers
29 reviews (2009) (304p) (ALA)
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The Echo Maker by Richard Powers
136 reviews (2006) (464p) (PP) (NBA)
Read Reviews | Visit this book's Amazon.com page
Galatea 2.2 by Richard Powers
59 reviews (1995) (336p) (NBCCA)
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Operation Wandering Soul by Richard Powers
10 reviews (1993) (352p) (NBA)
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The Gold Bug Variations by Richard Powers
50 reviews (1991) (640p) (NBCCA)
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Three Farmers On Their Way To A Dance by Richard Powers
20 reviews (1985) (352p) (NBCCA)
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Richard Powers Award Stats
Major Prize* Nominations 8  
Unique Books Nominated for a Major Prize* 7  
Pulitzer Prize Wins 0  
Pulitzer Prize Nominations 1 The Echo Maker ·  
National Book Critics Circle Award Wins 0  
National Book Critics Circle Award Nominations 4 Galatea 2.2 · The Gold Bug Variations · The Time of Our Singing · Three Farmers On Their Way To A Dance ·  
National Book Award Wins 1 The Echo Maker ·  
National Book Award Nominations 2 Operation Wandering Soul · The Echo Maker ·  
Man Booker Prize Wins 0  
Man Booker Prize Nominations 0  
PEN/Faulkner Award Wins 0  
PEN/Faulkner Award Nominations 0  

*Major Prize = Pulitzer Prize, National Book Critics Circle Award, National Book Award, Man Booker Prize, and PEN/Faulkner Award

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Pulitzer Prize | National Book Critics Circle Award | National Book Award | PEN/Faulkner Award | Man Booker Prize | Contact