Thursday, September 2, 2010

Gerald Elias

A graduate of Yale, Gerald Elias has been a Boston Symphony violinist, Associate Concertmaster of the Utah Symphony since 1988, Adjunct Professor of Music at the University of Utah, first violinist of the Abramyan String Quartet, and Music Director of the Vivaldi Candlelight concert series.

His novels include Devil's Trill and the newly released Danse Macabre.

Late last month I asked him what he was reading. His reply:
I just started The Good Rain, a wonderfully written book in 1990 by Timothy Egan the Seattle correspondent for the New York Times. In it, he explores the Northwest, comparing how nature has fared in the past one-and-a-half centuries in its struggle against encroaching humanity. He is a fluent essayist, naturalist, historian, and adventurer and the book is just beautiful to read. I have a particularly strong connection to the Northwest: my wife, Cecily, is from Eugene, Oregon, where her father, Clyde, had been a long time geography professor at UO. Cecily took me on a camping trip up the Rogue River way back in the 70s at a time when I (being from Long Island) still considered going to Jones Beach an adventure. Our son, Jacob, graduated UO and now lives in Portland, and our daughter, Kate, lives in Seattle. In fact, I recently returned from performances at a music festival in Sunriver, Oregon, which is where I was given The Good Rain by my Portland colleague, violinist Andrew Erhlich. Which reminds me, I need to send it back to him when I finish.

I'm also reading McCarthy's Bar, by Pete McCarthy in 2000. Cecily picked it up in anticipation of a family vacation my family undertook in June, our first to Ireland. Not only is it one of the most entertaining books I've ever read, it truly captures the soul of Ireland. We had a wonderful time during our two weeks in West Cork, and reading the book now makes it feel as if I'm still there, downing a pint while watching Gaelic football on the telly.

Just before going to Ireland I finished reading Absurdistan, by Gary Shteyngart in 2006. A different kind of travelogue entirely, this political farce is so over the top that it rings frighteningly true. As with McCarthy's Bar, I was laughing out loud from the author's wit, but in the case of Absurdistan I was also looking over my shoulder!
Visit Gerald Elias' website.

Interview: Gerald Elias.

The Page 69 Test: Devil's Trill.

--Marshal Zeringue