The Last Protégée: A Memoir of Uncertain Verisimilitude

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“The darker form with the red diamond in the center is the Master, her will to power and to success. The still dark but smaller form, rimmed in blue appearing on the right near the door is me, the recently reluctant disciple, with my despair and my desperate desire to be free.” Dreams of a career as a classical pianist erode and wither, destroyed through a relationship with the famous and forceful Antonia Brico, renowned pianist and the first woman to conduct the New York Philharmonic. Told almost as a post-modern detective story, through a mosaic of fact and imagination, The Last Protégée reveals the extraordinary power and emotional depth of Dr. Brico’s influence on half a century of Nancy Deed Resler’s life.

 

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The Last Protégée is an eloquent coming of age story as well as a post-modern memoir-detective story. The narrator searches through memory and memorabilia to figure out who betrayed whom, the master or the disciple. After being “specially selected for great things,” “hitched to a star,” the young girl resists self-annihilation, resists turning over her soul to the great teacher, the domineering conductor, Antonia Brico. With an eye of a visual artist and the voice of poet, Resler creates a provocative and powerful image of the unshakeable Antonia Brico and her last protégée. Barbara Henning, author of Thirty Miles to Rosebud.

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