The Financial Times: "The narrative voice, sprinkled with dry aperçus, is nicely captured."
Date: Dec 20 2013
Saving Mozart purports to be the diary of one Otto J Steiner, a tubercular music critic dying in a Vienna sanatorium on the eve of the second world war.
Abandoned by his son, Steiner coughs and curses his way through his final days. He seems apathetic about the war’s progress and dismissive of his fellow patients. But when a friend invites him to help design the programme for a music festival attended by high-ranking German officers, he sees a chance to fight back.
This slender, confident debut novel is deliciously atmospheric and tense – one scene finds Steiner, disguised as a Nazi attendant, holding Hitler’s cap as the Führer converses with Stalin on a train platform in the Alps.
The narrative voice, sprinkled with dry aperçus, is nicely captured (“A Christian is a Jew who’s out of his mind”; “I never understood music so well as I have since I stopped listening to it”) if a little derivative of Dostoevsky’s withered misanthropes.