Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Wonder Singer- George Rabasa

The Wonder Singer
George Rabasa
Unbridled, Oct 2008, $25.95
ISBN: 9781932961560

Legendary soprano Senora Merce Casals hires almost forty year old minor league ghostwriter Mark Lockwood to write her autobiography. He spends several hundred hours interviewing the diva and looking over related information. When the opera star is found dead in her jeweled grotto bathroom tub, her agent Hollywood Hank sees her death as a win. He fires Mark and hires famous biographer Alonzo Baylor to tell Merce’s story.

Irate with the snub as he feels an affinity to his late client to include a belief he owes her the true story and not a titillating fabrication to make the best seller lists, Lockwood takes his interview tapes with him and vanishes. He is abetted by Merce’s loyal team consisting of her nurse Perla, her cross-dressing pal Orson, her husband, and other adoring fans and employees. Lockwood begins writing the definitive biography of Merce Casals.

This is a fabulous work of fiction that hooks the audience from the onset with Mark’s vivid descriptions and never slows down as readers obtain insight through the interviews into the Spanish Civil War and the scenes behind an opera house. Thus the story line contains a “biographical fiction” inside the bigger plot. Through the rival writers, George Rabasa brings to life a late soprano star so explicitly readers will believe Senora Casals was a real diva.

Harriet Klausner

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