Today is my day on the blog tour for J SS Bach by Martin Goodman. I’m so glad I took a chance on this book because I really enjoyed it!
J SS Bach is the story of three generations of women from either side of Germany’s 20th Century horror story – one side, a Jewish family from Vienna, the other linked to a ranking Nazi official at Dachau concentration camp – who suffer the consequences of what men do. Fast forward to 1990s California, and two survivors from the families meet. Rosa is a young Australian musicologist; Otto is a world-famous composer and cellist. Music and history link them. A novel of music, the Holocaust, love, and a dog. The author’s writing is a wonderland, captivating and drawing the reader in to the presented world. Time becomes no object as a literary universe unfolds and carries the reader through eighty years, where emotions are real and raw and beautifully given.
The first thing I have to say is a big thank you to the author, Martin Goodman, and the publishers, Wrecking Ball Press, for arranging a signed copy for me! That was a lovely little surprise when I opened the book. And it’s even more special now that I’ve read it and enjoyed it so much.
From the first page of J SS Bach, I was completely drawn into the story. Martin Goodman has a narrative style that feels at once comfortable and familiar. The book’s short chapters make it extremely readable; I would find myself picking it up to read a few pages and being completely captivated. I genuinely couldn’t tear my eyes away from the pages. Reading this book made me feel transported (and really, isn’t that what it’s all about?)
As a musician, I really felt that this book captured the amazing power of music to bring people together. The way Otto played, his passion flowing from him – so relatable. Something in these pages truly spoke to me. I can’t even put it into words; I just found it so moving.
Goodman moves seamlessly between time periods throughout the novel and I was never once lost or confused. I loved making the links between characters and seeing their stories intertwine. And everyone felt realistic, with true human emotions and flaws. Nobody was a cardboard cut-out, not even the SS officers as I’ve seen before in other books.
Honestly, this was just so so good. There was so much emotion imbued in the pages, in part due to descriptions that were both starkly beautiful and haunting. However, the author managed to balance the poignancy of the story with more light-hearted moments of joy; I’m always impressed when a book about WWII is not all doom and gloom as would be so easy and expected!
This is a new favourite of mine and I would definitely recommend it to fans of WWII fiction or anyone with musical inclinations!
To find out what more readers think of this book, check out the other stops on the tour! x