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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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07/20/2008 Archived Entry: "Novel Review: The Wonder Singer"

The Wonder Singer
by George Rabasa
Published by Unbridled Books
ISBN-10: 1-932961-56-9
ISBN-13: 978-1-932961-56-0

Review by Kris

An author, a nurse and a female impersonator. I know that sounds like the beginning of one of those "A priest, a rabbi and a Baptist minister" jokes. Throw in being chased by hitmen hired by a Hollywood talent agent and it sounds like a crazy Monty Python sketch. But, alas, you actually have the story of The Wonder Singer by George Rabasa.

Mark Lockwood is a writer. Not a huge name in the industry but he does have plenty of DIY (do-it-yourself) type books out. When he is approached by his agent with an opportunity to ghostwrite Mercé Casals memoir, he jumps at the chance. La Casals is a famous opera singer, nicknamed 'The Wonder Singer.' One morning, while Lockwood waited for La Casals, a heart attack strikes the diva while soaking in her enormous scented bath. Lockwood sees his chance, to finally make a name for himself.

With the assistance of La Casals personal nurse, Perla, Mark decides to pick up the story, feeling that the diva left her story in his hands. The talent agent, on the other hand, has other plans. All he can see are dollar signs and hires a noteable and highly controversial author to write her biography. Here is where the adventure starts. Lockwood has amassed a lot of material and momentos from La Casals apartment and the talent agent wants them. Orson La Prima will work security, he is La Casals biggest fan (he's our female impersonator). He, along with Perla and Mark, wants to see Mercé Casals story told respectfully. All while being hounded by the talent agent and his hired thugs.

The Wonder Singer is a lyrical tapestry woven beautifully by George Rabasa. You don't need to be a fan of opera to enjoy this story. The style is mind blowing. As the story progresses, snippets of what would be in the memoir "The Wonder Singer" show up in the story and blend beautifully within the larger story, and often mirror what is going on with Mark and his struggles to get the book written and submitted before other authors. While reading you can almost hear Tosca, Lakme, and other operas in the background. Who knew that you could combine action and intrigue with this kooky cast of characters. This is a great book to read and ponder. It's filled with humor, tears, anger, name an emotion and I'm sure you will feel it while reading this novel. George Rabasa has written a beautiful piece of prose with a little something for everyone. Especially me, being a vocalist myself. I truly appreciate the beauty and attention that Rabasa paid to the amazing talent that opera singers must possess. I am not trained enough to sing opera, but I know how hard I've worked in the past just to be able to produce a sound pleasing to ear. Mr. Rabasa has created a breathtaking libretto for the written word. Read The Wonder Singer, I know that you won't be disappointed.

Replies: 1 Comment

Brava, Kris! Your kind words are much appreciated. I was especially flattered by your estimate of my ability to portray the huge, mysterious gift that is the domain of the operatic singer. Not being able to sing a note myself, my plunge into the world of voice was based on research, listening, observation, interviews, and love of the art.
Many thanks,
George Rabasa

Posted by George Rabasa @ 07/22/2008 08:39 AM PST

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