The Time of Our Singing

A Novel

Richard Powers

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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A magnificent, multifaceted novel about a supremely gifted -- and divided -- family, set against the backdrop of postwar America

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 in song. But their three children must survive America's brutal here and now. Jonah, Joseph, and Ruth grow up during the Civil Rights era, come of age in the violent 1960s, and live 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, chooses a militant activism and repudiates the white culture her brother represents. Joseph, the middle child and the narrator of this generational tale, struggles to remain connected to them both.

The Time of Our Singing is a story of self-invention, allegiance, race, cultural ownership, the compromised power of music, and the tangled loops of time that rewrite all belonging.

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Book Excerpts

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Excerpt from The Time of Our Singing by Richard Powers. Copyright © 2003 by Richard Powers. To be published in January, 2003 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved.


n some empty hall, my brother is still singing. His voice hasn't dampened yet. Not altogether. The rooms where he sang still hold an impression, their walls dimpled with his sound, awaiting some future phonograph capable of replaying them.

My brother Jonah stands fixed, leaning against a piano. He's just twenty. The sixties have only begun. The country still dozes in its last pretended innocence.

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Reviews

Praise for The Time of Our Singing

"I can think of no American novelist of his generation who makes a stronger [case]--that the writing of novels is a heroic enterprise, and perhaps even a matter of life and death." --A. O. Scott, The New York Review of Books

"Powers is a genuine artist, a thinker of rare synthetic gifts, maybe the only writer working...who can render the intricate dazzle of it all and at the same time plumb its philosophical implications." --Sven Birkerts, Esquire
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About the Author

Richard Powers

Richard Powers has been the recipient of a 1999 Lannan Literary Award and a MacArthur Fellowship. He is the author of eight novels, including Plowing the Dark (FSG, 2000), Gain (FSG, 1998), and Galatea 2.2 (FSG, 1995). He lives in Illinois.

Richard Powers

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Richard Powers

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Available Formats and Book Details

The Time of Our Singing
A Novel
Richard Powers

Award

Ambassador Book Award - Winner, National Book Critics Circle Awards - Nominee

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
January 2004
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9780374706418
ISBN10: 0374706417
640 pages
$9.99

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Picador
January 2004
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780312422189
ISBN10: 0312422180
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 640 pages
$22.00
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From The Publisher

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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