Aloha, Mozart

Aloha, Mozart

Waimea Williams

Would you risk your life—or your soul—for the sake of art?


This debut novel hits all the right notes—following in the spell-casting footsteps of Ann Patchett’s "Bel Canto."

Born into an impoverished Hawaiian family, Maile Manoa’s quest for a life in music lures her to the high-stakes world of 1960's European opera. In Salzburg, Austria she attracts the attentions of powerful men and falls in love . . . with a troubled young musician, with the city, and the intrigue that surrounds her.

When Werner von Wehlen, the famous conductor at the center of Salzburg’s glamorous music festival, offers her a leading role, she is forced to confront the Nazi heart of the classical music scene and von Wehlen’s treacherous past. On the evening of her brilliant premiere, with Soviet tanks threatening to invade the city, Maile must choose between recognition on the world stage . . . or leaving the city with her life, and her conscience, intact.

“Gorgeously conceived and enacted and textured, this richly pleated story unfolds with dark and thrilling suspense.”
—Al Young, Poet Laureate of California

“Few know the secrets of Salzburg in 1968: the glamorous, high-stakes world of young competitors for renown in classical music. The most wonderful reward of the novel is the immersion it provides in a beautiful old culture, the cuisine and the architecture and the customs and the high art, as well as the corruption, of a great civilization.”
—Louis B. Jones, author of Ordinary Money, Particles and Luck, California’s Over, and Radiance

Aloha, Mozart really got under my skin. It is partly because of the knowing narrative voice, partly the quiet passion and intensity of the story, partly the sensuality with which Williams evokes place. I came away feeling it was one of those novels that took me to places I’d never been, but recognized completely.

Hawaiian Maile Manoa, born into a large impoverished family, is set apart by a fierce independence and stunning voice. Her quest for a life in music lures her from her beloved family and island paradise, to the rarefied and competitive world of opera in Salzburg, Austria. It is the 1960’s and Austria, still licking its wounds from World War II, now faces the threat of Soviet aggression. As Maile begins to succeed in this strange, straight-laced, Caucasian world, the complexities of politics, love, and ambition converge, and the book asks us to consider what, in the end, really matters.

Suffused from beginning to end with a remarkable aural awareness, the only thing this wonderful novel lacks is a soundtrack.
—Cai Emmons, author of The Stylist, His Mother’s Son

"From the opening sentences, this novel captured my undivided, rapt attention. Aloha Mozart deserves to be praised, to become a bestseller, and I firmly believe it would translate into a totally engrossing film, as well. It is a beautiful literary pearl, one of those rare finds that will be treasured and re-read many times over. It's not only for opera or classical music connoisseurs, but for anyone who can understand what a true artist must undergo in order to attain the heights of their art, while holding on to their integrity". ~ A Nights Dream of Books Blog

"The generous lyricism and insight offered in this text make the language my favorite aspect of the novel. Readers with some familiarity with Hawaiian vocabulary will enjoy additional meaning from the text (even the multiple meanings embedded in the title), but it is not necessary to the enjoyment of the book.
Review: 10/10. Phenomenal! I am a lifelong fan of the author." ~ Jelly-side Up Blog

"This is a fantastic debut novel with rich culture, the elite of art and music, deep and extremely diverse character backed up by solid story telling." ~ Fabulousity Reads Blog

DOWNLOADSDiscussion questions and reader's guide to Aloha, Mozart

Originally from Hawaii, Waimea Williams spent a decade in Austria and Germany as an opera singer and has received fiction awards from Glimmer Train, The Lorian Hemingway Competition, and Salamander Review. She has enjoyed the honor of a writing residency at the Ragdale Foundation, and her short story “Vienna Quartet With Dog” received First Prize from the Charlton Review in 2012. She currently lives near Honolulu.

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Hardcover9781935462668 $29.95
Publication Date2012-11-12
Publication StatusIn Print
Trim Size5.5 x 8.5
Page Count280

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