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The Speech of Angels Paperback – 1 Mar 2004

4.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; New edition edition (1 Mar. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007123868
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007123865
  • Product Dimensions: 19.9 x 13.1 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 402,184 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'A wonderful, panoramic storyteller with such vivid pictures she completely captivates me. A terrific writer.' Barbara Erskine

'From the first, I was hooked with this enchanting book…unputdownable.' Audrey Howard

'Her characters will stay with you forever.' Katie Fforde

From the Back Cover

Jyothi is a Bombay street child, with a faint memory of a past happiness. Rescued by an affluent western couple, she is whisked off to a comfortable life. But can she adapt to such a lifestyle?

Then her rare musical talent is discovered. Although words might never be easy, music flows from her. The delicate girl, with her extraordinary looks, takes the world by storm. And the rootless Indian waif, Jyothi, becomes the international superstar, Jade.

She and her family discover the burdens of fame, and Jyothi is torn between re-finding her roots and becoming a western girl. And running through her mind is the vision of a high, light room, looking out over green hills, a man's clear, candid gaze with the memory of a music of enchantment.

The Speech of Angels is a moving, emotional story of a remarkable girl, her loves and life, and the price of migration and fame.

'What an absolute joy it is to discover Sharon Maas - I can't recall when I last enjoyed a writer so much.' Lesley Pearse
A wonderful, panoramic storyteller.' Barbara Erskine

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Most of us are much more comfortable giving gifts to others than receiving them. Sometimes the gifts we receive are puzzling. What are we to do with what we did not expect? In other cases, the gifts are overwhelming. Where will I put that? Yet at other times, we are unsure how to express our appreciation. What karmic debt have I incurred if someone spends their life savings to give me a gift? In any event, we often feel the need to reciprocate . . . as soon as possible!
How does all that change when the gifts are not material . . . but spiritual? Ah! That's the beauty of Sharon Maas's latest triumph, The Speech of Angels.
A young girl in India discovers the beauty of music while visiting with her mother. But then Jyothi's life is torn apart when the family that has always employed her family to do their laundry purchases a washing machine. Further disasters follow when the family tries to eke out a living in Bombay with laundry and begging. Then, she receives her first gift . . . a European couple saves her from a fate worse than the streets and raises her as their own daughter in Germany. Naturally being overwhelmed by all that has happened to her, her sense of obligation steals away from her sense of self. She next receives her second gift . . . the realization that she can make marvelous music herself. But the music doesn't move her like it does her listeners . . . so it's a dangerous gift. More disasters follow and she finds herself feeling cut off from all but one person . . . someone who isn't really worthy of her trust. How can she become reconciled to her gifts? That's just what you will find out by reading The Speech of Angels.
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Format: Paperback
This is a story of the dazzling heights and plunging depths of human emotion.
From the colorful, chaotic slums of Bombay's streets, to the monochromatic, efficient orderliness of Germany, from the untamed beauty of an English garden to the wildly remote Himalayas and fashion capitals of the world, Sharon Maas weaves an intriguing tale, which will hold you spellbound until the very last word.
Each character comes vividly to life with that special vibrancy found only when the author has a special relationship with the subject matter, perhaps from personal experience, and certainly from careful research and character development.
Plucked from the squalor of street life in Bombay, Jyothi faces a new life in an unfamiliar place, in which she can relate to nothing except the calming influence of music. Using her natural gift for classical music as a shield, she must overcome the tragedy of her past, and somehow fit into her new life, which often seems to swallow her entirely, her own shortcomings restricting her like iron bands.
Encouraged by her new mother, she experiences her first rush of power as she begins performing violin solos in public, and a new Jyothi begins to emerge, not entirely to her own liking.
Tragic circumstances lead to another upheaval in her life, and she is again forced to start again, in another unfamiliar place, with her only constants being her adopted father and her violin. Here however, she finds a new person to play for, and she experiences for the first time, unrequited love.
A visit to India brings back old memories, and a chance meeting rekindles a fire within her, which unfortunately is extinguished when the trip has to be cut short.
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Format: Hardcover
Ms. Maas has composed for us another grand opus. Set in three countries and populated with fascinating players that resonate with reality, "The Speech of Angels" may be the first book that feels like it was written in Dolby Surround Sound. This is a tremendous story of a girl's life, from its lowest lows to its highest highs, a symphony of hardships, struggles, and joy. It is about life and love, but most importantly (and really there should be no separation) it is about music.
Jyothi, a child of the streets, is adopted by a charitable Western couple. Removed from Bombay's chaos, danger, and filth she is given a Western home, a Western education. And she soon displays an innate talent for music. She was born with a skill of such magnitude that she is guaranteed to be a virtuoso, a star.
But there is much pain in growing up as a "foreigner" and especially so when the colour of your skin so clearly delineates you from everyone else. We all want the same things out of life - love and acceptance, and these are things that school-age children are reluctant to give to someone who does not "fit in."
Fame can solve all of her problems. She can use music to win the love of others, to feed her ego and find her sense of self which is scattered across two continents. But until she learns that music cannot be a servant; that it must flow from her for the sheer joy and love of playing; she will never find that happiness she so desires. And she will never be the musician she is capable of becoming.
Throughout the book, music is described with a sense of joy and wonder that will astound those who have felt it. Anyone who has ever cried at a symphony or felt butterflies during the loftier passages of their favorite orchestral compositions understands that music comes from and goes directly to our souls. That is what makes it "the speech of angels."
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