A magnetic debut novel from world-renowned violinist Eugene Drucker
Set during the final weeks of World War II, The Savior is the story of Gottfried Keller, a young German violinist. Exempted from military service, Keller is burdened with the demoralizing task of playing for wounded soldiers in hospitals and makeshift infirmaries.
As he leaves his apartment one morning to pick up a new assignment at headquarters, Keller finds an SS driver waiting for him and is escorted without explanation to a labor camp outside his town. There he is introduced to the camp's Kommandant, who tells Keller that he will spend the next four days performing for the inmates as part of an experiment in reviving hope in those who have lost it completely.
Overwhelmed by fear and compelled by the temptation of using his talent to affect others so powerfully, Keller finds himself playing a series of concerts for the prisoners -- and seeing with his own eyes the horrifying truths within the barbed-wire fence. As he plays the music of Ysaÿe, Hindemith and Bach, most notably the searing Chaconne, Keller's own questionable past unfolds, revealing the loss of his closest friend and the Jewish fiancée from whom he fled in fear of being caught as a Jew-lover. As he bears witness to the camp's atrocities, Keller's horror toward the perpetrators and their crime begins to fade, revealing his own culpability.
Beautifully conceived and gracefully written, The Savior is a complex and illuminating character study of a man severed from his past expectations and an artist struggling with his identity in the face of human catastrophe.
As a member of the Emerson String Quartet, Eugene Drucker has received eight Grammys, the Avery Fisher Prize and three Gramophone Awards. An active solo artist, he has recorded the sonatas and partitas of Bach as well as the violin sonatas and duos of Bartók. He is the author of numerous articles, CD liner notes and concert program notes on string quartet and solo violin music. He lives in New York with his wife and son.
"A moving, honest exploration of conscience; Eugene Drucker's description of music illuminates the text in a way that a nonmusical writer would have been incapable of. The test of a good novel is whether it stays with you afterward, and The Savior is a book you will not forget."
-- Kate Atkinson, author of One Good Turn and Case Histories
"One of our finest musicians has now distinguished himself in this graceful work of fiction. Eugene Drucker has created a poignant tale of heartbreaking paradoxes and one man's efforts to solve them through art in the darkest of times."
-- Leon Botstein, president of Bard College and author of The History of Listening
"With The Savior, Eugene Drucker has written an elegant, smart and knowing novel that delves into darkness and explores its many shades."
-- Meg Wolitzer, author of The Position and Surrender, Dorothy
"Eugene Drucker brings a musician's understanding of tempo, tone and interpretation to this book. He's an artist in two fields; maybe more."