"That afternoon father arrived with the news. All four of us embraced, without uttering a word. He came with the tickets to leave in the Saint Louis three days later, bound for Cuba. We would have to hurry to prepare for the trip which, like an unspeakable secret, we suspected would only be one way. The madness which had shattered our lives would be left behind."
A captivating and intriguing novel written in four movements and a coda. The reader will travel through its twists and turns accompanied by musical terms. Concert for Leah is the story of a young girl with a superlative talent to play the violin, setting her eyes on a concert career.
In 1939 Leah and her family leave Hamburg and sail to Cuba aboard the Saint Louis, a ship full of Jewish refugees trying to escape from the Nazis. Upon their arrival at the Havana harbor, the government refuses to let them disembark, forcing them to return to Europe. They were sent to Paris.
Throughout the horrors of the Second World War, Leah watches how all her dreams fade away, as well as her family and her violin. The Holocaust memories will haunt Leah until her final days, along with the tattooed numbers in her arm.
"I wrote this novel with the utmost respect, as a tribute to the victims of the Nazis. They had to go on living with no choice but to face their own pain, without giving up."
Maira Landa - Author
"Nobody comes out unharmed after facing human extermination as seen from the eyes of a young girl. To live the experience is heartbreaking as producing music from in front of a gas chamber. Music is the core of this novel, a dialogue between the past and the present. These atrocities should not happen again."
-Jose Ignacio Valenzuela- Chascas - Writer
When we moved away from the Polish countryside, I closed my eyes. Freedom and the landscape's beauty wounded my retinas. The image of our front room in Bremen came to my mind: Rachel was in a lovely green dress, seated at the piano and I was by her side, about to perform with my violin. Our parents looked at us from one end of the room. We began playing, but the scene took place in utter silence. I was desperate because I couldn't hear the music. Little by little a distant melodic phrasing emerged, a melody of confused timbres, first very tenuous, then stronger, unstoppable... Thais Meditation. I liked it so much, that Rachel bestowed on me as Leah's Meditation.
My heartbeats were becoming more intense, to the rhythm of percussion, with an offbeat allegro. Rachel stood up from the piano and placed herself next to mother and father. All three kept looking at me while I played my Guarneri. Their shapes blurred till they disappeared. The music vanished very slowly with the breeze that grazed my face.
I opened my eyes and looked at the lovely landscape. A pleasant sensation of piece invaded me, hearing an inner voice that said:
Leah, you are alive! Music has returned to your life
"I'm a violin student. I didn't know how this wonderful story would go so far in me. How I cried! From the moment Leah fell in love with her violin, I fell in love with the story. When I play my violin, I think of Leah. Her tenacity is now my inspiration."
"The reader feels as he were in the middle of the action. It left me with desire of reading more. The finale is impeccable."
"An exceptional work that provokes very deep emotions. The images are described as in a movie. The musical touch makes the plot less terrible."
"One of the finalists in the 2009 Planeta de Novela Award, Spain. She should have won. It is a perfect story for the cinema or a miniseries."
Carlos Alberto Montaner Blog, FL
"A highly recommended novel. The pages turn and the reader feels more hooked. The suspense is guaranteed until the end.
Letralia - Marta Farreras - Spain
"It has all the ingredients for a great movie about the Nazis and their impact on the Caribbean."
otrolunes.com - Dr. Daniel Torres