The Time of Our Singing

The Time of Our Singing (2003) is a novel by American writer Richard Powers It tells the story of two brothers involved in music best hydration belts for runners, dealing heavily with issues of prejudice. Their parents met at Marian Anderson’s concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial after she had been barred from any other legitimate concert venue. The story goes back and forth between the generations describing the unusual coupling of a German-Jewish physicist who has lost his family in the holocaust and a black woman from Philadelphia both of whom have strong musical backgrounds. They impart their love of music to their family. Their two boys go on to study music and become professional musicians. One a singer how to tenderize beef quickly, the other a pianist coffee thermos stainless steel.

This is a complex epic novel juxtaposing historical events covering most of the 20th century, depicting racism and the development of civil rights efforts and the author’s love and knowledge of music and physics. The book can be read on many levels but those who have at least some familiarity with music will find a plethora of references to music from all eras and styles.

Powers makes many references to specific composers, musicians and singers in the novel. Below are some examples.

The novel won the 2004 Ambassador Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award the year before.