Music plays in the background of my life. Right now, I’m listening to Dixie Chicks because it’s just that kind of morning. Usually I prefer Mozart while I’m writing, but today it’s my Indigo Girls Pandora station where like-tuned musicians play.
I don’t know much about music except that I love it in all its forms. I dabbled with the flute in high school and college—still have an old silver plated instrument high on a closet shelf somewhere. I sang in choirs all my life until I reached the ripe age of eighteen and flew out of the safety net of my home. I love music, and I like to sing to it in the car, shower, and at my desk while I work. I love to dance to good music, which I do at my dance class and occasionally in the aisles of the grocery store. Yes, music lifts my mood, inspires me, and allows me the freedom to soar above the mundane.
That’s only one of the reasons I loved Denise Kahn’s Split Second Lifetime. The story revolves around music, which sits at the core of the novel. Kahn’s writing is lyrical and magical. Her main character Jebby is a music ethnomusicologist, and she takes the reader on a journey of discovery of the music of Uzbekistan in Central Asia. Jebby and her team are producing a series of CDs on native music from around the world. She meets Dodi on the plane to Paris before she embarks on her journey. The meeting is powerful, but the visions Jebby begins to see while on this journey are at once disturbing and intriguing. Those visions—set in the southwestern United States—haunt her as she attempts to figure out the connection. In Uzbekistan, it all comes together as she travels through the country with Dodi, her team, and escort.
Music creates the setting and influences the characters. Kahn’s descriptions of her surroundings are always at the forefront, whether in real time or in her visions of past lives.
The novel is rich in description, symbolism, and synchronicity. The two story lines—present day and past life exploration—eventually meld together as Jebby continues her journey in search of talented musicians and soul-lifting music.
I recommend reading this book if you are willing to transport yourself into an adventure beyond what can be seen right in front of you. Kahn knows her music and her setting, and she combines it all with a creative touch in her writing. I loved the story and the lyrical prose. I’ve already downloaded her latest release, Obsession of the Heart.