The Bells

The Bells

eBook - 2010
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Dazzling, enchanting and epic, The Bells is the confession of a thief, kidnapper and unlikely lover --nbsp;a boy with the voice of an angel whose exquisite sense of hearing becomes both his life's tragic curse and its greatest blessing.

Moses Froben was born in a belfry high in the Swiss Alps, the bastard son of a deaf-mute woman banished to the church tower to ring each day the Loudest and Most Beautiful Bells in the land. His life is simple but he is content, until the day his father recognizes Moses's singular sense of hearing and its power to expose his sins. Cast into the world with only his ears to protect and guide him, Moses finds refuge in the choir of the great Abbey of St. Gall and becomes its star singer, only to endure the horrifying act of castration meant to preserve his angelic voice and turn him into a musico.

In a letter to his son, Moses recounts his humble birth in eighteenth-century Switzerland and his life as a novice monk, and tells of the two noble friendsnbsp;--nbsp;and a forbidden lovernbsp;--nbsp;whom he cherished during his chaotic years in Mozart's Vienna as apprentice to the great Gaetano Guadagni, and even as he ascended Europe's most celebrated stages as Lo Svizzero. But in this letter he will also reveal the astonishing secrets of his past and answer the question that has shadowed his fame: how did Moses Froben, world-renowned musico, come to raise a son who by all rights he could never have sired?


From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: Toronto : Random House Canada, 2010
ISBN: 9780307358257
0307358259
Characteristics: 1 online resource

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bigfeet
Dec 16, 2016

A gothic piece of historical fiction that deals with "Musicos" or those who are castrated for the sake of the voice. There were parts of this book that were uncomfortable to read but overall it was a very good story about love, loyalty and the influence of music.

Rachiecakes Oct 08, 2014

I am an extremely picky reader who has never been able to re-read even a book I enjoyed reading.

As soon as I read the last line in "The Bells", I immediately turned back to page 1 and started reading it again!

I cannot pinpoint why this book affected me so much -- but I suspect that it is due to the depth and richness of Harvell's characters -- especially Moses. His childhood is a tragic one, that almost makes the reading of it unbearable -- but you will not be able to stop turning the pages to see how life unfolds for his unfortunate soul. The description of sounds in this book is quite remarkable-- and made me care, all of a sudden, quite deeply about 18th century Vienna, and about what life would be like as a "musico". Really, the setting could have been anywhere because the writing was so good. Can't recommend it enough.

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FVReader
Jun 24, 2012

I truly enjoyed this story of love, loyalty, being true and steadfast. The author focussed completely on the texture of sound, how sound reverberates through life, life, friendship. Sound is a symbol of Life, felt at it's deepest and most pure.
I really liked how "bells" played such a large role in this book and portrayed truth, solidity, joy, pain and, most of all, love.

r
racquetannie
Feb 04, 2012

a must read -be aware it is a delicate subject!

l
linder55
Apr 07, 2011

This book was an aria by itself. I found myself thinking about the way sound affects so much of my experiences. A wonderful book, but be warned- I was nearly unable to do anything but read for three days, because I needed to find out what happened next!

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NanaPat
Mar 27, 2011

Richard Harvell's first novel is an aria unto itself. His colourization is perfect and the characters and the story of their lives will stay with me for a vey long time. I hope Harvell completes another masterpiece soon.

b
becker
Oct 19, 2010

This well written story follows the tragic life of a young boy who is castrated in order to preserve his incredible singing voice. The writing is vivid and the story is interesting. The story begins with the creation of a set of magnificent bells for a church, but as the story progresses, the bells become symbolic of several different aspects in the story.

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NanaPat
Mar 27, 2011

NanaPat thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

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NanaPat
Mar 27, 2011

In this heartbeaking and captivating account of his extraordinary life , Moses tells how his gift for sound led him on an astonishing journey- from a tiny village in the Alps to an apprenticeship at one of Europe's greatest theatres , and to the premiere of one of history's most beloved operas-and tells the secret that has long shadowed his fame : How did Moses Froben , world-renowned musico , come to raise a son who by all rights he could never have sired ?

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NanaPat
Mar 27, 2011

musico Guadagni's sad comment :
" I often ask myself " he said, " as I take my bows, how many boys have I castrated with my voice tonight ?"

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