Lynne Sharon Schwartz and Binnie Kirshenbaum
Tuesday November 27, 2012
Renowned authors Lynne Sharon Schwartz (Two-Part Inventions) and Binnie Kirshenbaum (The Scenic Route) came together to read from their books and discuss their writing. Schwartz read from her new book Two-Part Inventions and Kirshenbaum read from a work in progress.
About Two-Part Inventions:
Bach collected thirty compositions for the piano in a book called Inventions and Sinfonias, later known as Two- and Three-Part Inventions. Half of the inventions were created specifically for the hands of a new student in order “to learn to play cleanly in two parts,” through a sort of splitting of the mind between those two hands. But what happens when the two voices creating the interdependent harmony are from two separate minds?
Lynne Sharon Schawrtz’s new novel, Two-Part Inventions, delves into the dirty musical world of unacknowledged co-authorship. When Philip, a New York producer and husband of the classically trained yet struggling Suzanne, starts to splice portions of other well-established composers in between the fault lines of Suzanne’s pieces, a conflict is born. Moving backwards from Suzanne’s death by stroke and Philip’s paranoid reaction, Schawrtz transcribes (from a true story, see: Joyce Hatto and William Barrington-Coupe) a complicated relationship between a nervous pianist and an ambitious drop-out of a performance conservatory. We learn that the price of unearned perfection is not just paid for in professional credibility, but also in the weight of an intimate, in some ways ignorant, rejection of a loved one’s inherent failings. Schawrtz has managed to write a thrilling depiction of the depths we dive for these loved-ones, and the more dangerous subconscious waters when the selfless-guise is unmasked for our own ambitions, naked for all to see and read.
Lynne Sharon Schwartz is the author of 21 books, including novels, story collections, non-fiction, poetry, and translations from Italian. Her most recent are the poetry collection, See You in the Dark; the memoir, Not Now, Voyager; the novel, The Writing on the Wall; and Referred Pain, a collection of stories. She is also the editor of The Emergence of Memory, an anthology of interviews with and essays on W.G. Sebald. She has received awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Foundation for the Arts. She is a faculty member at the Bennington College Writing Seminars and the Columbia University Writing Program.
Binnie Kirshenbaum is the author of the story collection History on a Personal Note and six novels including A Disturbance in One Place and Hester Among the Ruins. Her most recent novel The Scenic Route was published in 2009. She is a professor of Fiction Writing at Columbia University's MFA program where she currently serves as Chair.