Good Things I Wish You: BookList Review

BOOKLIST (July 1, 2009)

Good Things I Wish You
Ansay, A. Manette (Author)
Jul 2009. 272 p. Harper, hardcover, $25.99. (9780061239960).

In a YouTube age, where romantic discretion is as quaint a notion as construction-paper Valentines, Jeanette Hochmann’s fascination with the friendship between nineteenth-century pianist extraordinaire Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms is an anachronistic diversion. She readily admits that while other scholars have so thoroughly dissected their relationship as to leave nothing more to reveal, Jeanette feels oddly compelled to write the definitive book on an attraction she sees as purely platonic. Newly divorced, Jeanette begins wading in the dating pool, where she meets Hart, an enigmatic German American who offers to help translate Clara’s diaries and correspondence. Yet as their romance warily blooms, Hart endeavors to convince Jeanette that it is, and always has been, impossible for men and women to be merely friends. Intriguingly accompanied by reproductions of Schumann-Brahms ephemera, Ansay’s inventive exploration of this eternal romantic conundrum is equally paradoxical in its execution. Spare yet sumptuous, precise yet lavish, Ansay nimbly sifts historical fact through an admittedly autobiographical filter to deliver a richly textured study.

— Carol Haggas

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