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The Secret Chord: A Novel
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Penguin Publishing Group 2015
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"A page turner. . .Brooks is a master at bringing the past alive. . .in her skillful hands the issues of the past echo our own deepest concerns: love and loss, drama and tragedy, chaos and brutality." – Alice Hoffman, The Washington PostA rich and utterly absorbing novel about the life of King David, from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of People of the Book and March. With more than two million copies of her novels sold, New York Times bestselling author Geraldine Brooks has achieved both popular and critical acclaim. Now, Brooks takes on one of literature's richest and most enigmatic figures: a man who shimmers between history and legend. Peeling away the myth to bring David to life in Second Iron Age Israel, Brooks traces the arc of his journey from obscurity to fame, from shepherd to soldier, from hero to traitor, from beloved king to murderous despot and into his remorseful and diminished dotage.The Secret Chord provides new context for some of the best-known episodes of David's life while also focusing on others, even more remarkable and emotionally intense, that have been neglected. We see David through the eyes of those who love him or fear him—from the prophet Natan, voice of his conscience, to his wives Mikhal, Avigail, and Batsheva, and finally to Solomon, the late-born son who redeems his Lear-like old age. Brooks has an uncanny ability to hear and transform characters from history, and this beautifully written, unvarnished saga of faith, desire, family, ambition, betrayal, and power will enthrall her many fans.
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Street Date:
10/06/2015
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780698411487
ASIN:
B00SI02CHS
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APA Citation (style guide)

Geraldine Brooks. (2015). The Secret Chord: A Novel. Penguin Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Geraldine Brooks. 2015. The Secret Chord: A Novel. Penguin Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Geraldine Brooks, The Secret Chord: A Novel. Penguin Publishing Group, 2015.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Geraldine Brooks. The Secret Chord: A Novel. Penguin Publishing Group, 2015. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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fullDescription
"A page turner. . .Brooks is a master at bringing the past alive. . .in her skillful hands the issues of the past echo our own deepest concerns: love and loss, drama and tragedy, chaos and brutality." – Alice Hoffman, The Washington Post
A rich and utterly absorbing novel about the life of King David, from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of People of the Book and March.


With more than two million copies of her novels sold, New York Times bestselling author Geraldine Brooks has achieved both popular and critical acclaim. Now, Brooks takes on one of literature's richest and most enigmatic figures: a man who shimmers between history and legend. Peeling away the myth to bring David to life in Second Iron Age Israel, Brooks traces the arc of his journey from obscurity to fame, from shepherd to soldier, from hero to traitor, from beloved king to murderous despot and into his remorseful and diminished dotage.
The Secret Chord provides new context for some of the best-known episodes of David's life while also focusing on others, even more remarkable and emotionally intense, that have been neglected. We see David through the eyes of those who love him or fear him—from the prophet Natan, voice of his conscience, to his wives Mikhal, Avigail, and Batsheva, and finally to Solomon, the late-born son who redeems his Lear-like old age. Brooks has an uncanny ability to hear and transform characters from history, and this beautifully written, unvarnished saga of faith, desire, family, ambition, betrayal, and power will enthrall her many fans.
reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        June 22, 2015
        Brooks’s interest in religious commitment (People of the Book) accrues rich rewards in this ambitious and psychologically astute novel about the harp-playing, psalm-singing King David of the bible. A man of contradictory impulses, David was also a brutal and pitiless warrior living in “a culture of blood revenge.” In his younger years he was an outlaw and renegade, a raider and marauder. He was greedy, vain, intemperate, stubborn, and ruthlessly pragmatic. He loved his wives, however (at least most of them), and doted on his sons and daughter. His outstanding achievement was to unite the tribes of Judah and Israel to establish the first Hebrew kingdom. Brooks develops David’s complex personality and the bloody events of his tumultuous times through the narration of his prophet, Natan, of whom there is a tantalizing mention in the Bible (Chronicles). This format allows Natan to speak with various members of David’s family, his generals and soldiers, and even his enemies. Central to the narrative are a prediction and a curse. Through Natan, God (always called “the Name”) first promises David a throne, an empire, and a line of descendants. Later Natan foretells tragedy; David “will be scalded by the consequences of his choices” and will pay for the deaths he has caused “four times over.” These tragic events provide plenty of melodrama and considerable suspense. While most of the plot is fictional conjecture, Brooks evokes time and place with keenly drawn detail. Although her decision to use archaic language, including the Hebrew spelling of names (Solomon is Shlomo; Bethlehem is Beit Lethem; the Philistines are the Plishtim) sometimes slows the narrative, she compensates with the verve of an adroit storyteller.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        "He was big enough, but no giant." With that gently dismissive allowance, spoken by the biblical King David, Brooks (Caleb's Crossing, 2011, etc.) continues to explore the meaning of faith and religion in ordinary life. And sometimes extraordinary life, too, for even David has to admit that it's not every day one has to fight a Philistine hero. Goliath's fatal error was that he underestimated David, who tells a young shepherd, "Sometimes, it is good to be small." David's God is most definitely the one of the Old Testament, the jealous and punitive one; as leader of his tribe, David's hands are covered in blood, including that of the family of the shepherd boy. Brooks skillfully retells David's story through the eyes of Natan, the shepherd, who plays numerous roles throughout the narrative; as Avigail, David's knowing wife, tells him, "David will call for you often enough, be assured of it. He uses every tool that comes into his hand." There's plenty of action, some biblically bloodthirsty; there's plenty of talk as well, including some psychologizing that rings a touch anachronistic (says Avigail, for instance, "I've come to understand that he is what he is because of his faults"). David emerges from Brooks' pages as a complex, somewhat wounded man, dogged by trauma but mostly resolute all the same; in one of the most telling passages, Brooks imagines David eating a chicken leg calmly just after the death of a baby, reasoning, "Now he's dead, why should I fast? Can fasting bring him back again?" Of just as much interest as her view of the politically astute lion in winter are Brooks' portraits of characters who are somewhat thinly fleshed in their biblical accounts, such as Batsheva, Yoav, Avner, and even Avshalom-for, as Brooks sagely writes, "David, who so often saw so clearly, who weighed men to a fine grain, was utterly blind to the failings of the men he begat." A skillful reimagining of stories already well-known to any well-versed reader of the Bible gracefully and intelligently told. COPYRIGHT(1) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        April 15, 2015
        Brooks, who wins both prizes (e.g., the Pulitzer for "March") and audiences (there are two million copies of her books out there), is back with a novel about King David that takes him from shepherd to soldier to king to despot, often showing him from the perspective of others--the prophet Nathan, his three wives, and his son, Solomon.

        Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from August 1, 2015
        In her gorgeously written novel of ambition, courage, retribution, and triumph, Brooks imagines the life and character of King David in all his complexity, from his humble childhood through old age. A brilliant harpist and singer with immense charisma, this man beloved by the Lord is also a fearsome warrior who ruthlessly pursues his vision of power. Natan, David's longtime counselor and prophet, proves a shrewd chronicler for his tale, and David wisely knows it. The plot ranges back and forth in time, as Natan interviews three individuals David hand-selects for him to speak with, reminisces about his years of service, and observes David's passion for the beautiful, married Batsheva and its consequences. This isn't David's story alone. Stitched onto the familiar biblical framework are insightful interpretations of his wives and family members. The language, clear and precise throughout, turns soaringly poetic when describing music or the glory of David's city. Brooks' preference for biblical Hebrew names emphasizes the story's origins, and, taken as a whole, the novel feels simultaneously ancient, accessible, and timeless.High Demand Backstory: The author's previous mega-hits mean only one thing: that her latest will be in much demand.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2015, American Library Association.)

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shortDescription
"One of our most supple and insightful novelists." – Jane Smiley, The New York Times Book Review

A rich and utterly absorbing novel about the life of King David, from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of People of the Book and March.


With more than two million copies of her novels sold, New York Times bestselling author Geraldine Brooks has achieved both popular and critical acclaim. Now, Brooks takes on one of literature's richest and most enigmatic figures: a man who shimmers between history and legend. Peeling away the myth to bring David to life in Second Iron Age Israel, Brooks traces the arc of his journey from obscurity to fame, from shepherd to soldier, from hero to traitor, from beloved king to murderous despot and into his remorseful and diminished dotage.
The Secret Chord provides new context for some of the best-known episodes of David's life while also focusing on others, even more...
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