A journey through music, performance and the science of time by Natalie Hodges. Bellevue Literary, $17.99 commercial paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-942658-97-9

Natalie Hodges. Bellevue Literary, $17.99 commercial paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-942658-97-9

Korean American violinist Hodges debuts with a literary mosaic of invention, inquiry and wonder that interrogates classical music, quantum entanglement, the Tiger Mother stereotype and the fluidity of time. The guideline is his lifelong study of the violin and how his chronic performance anxiety (“nothing more or less than my fear of losing control of the moment”) ended his dream of becoming a solo violinist. together in his early twenties. To understand how she got there, she dives into the psychology of musicality, arguing that “the desire to make music is as much a desire to affirm one’s individual self as it is to connect with others.” She portrays Gabriela Montero, a classical music aberrant whose improvisational skills have fascinated neuroscientists; pays tribute to his mother, a Korean immigrant who gave up music to become a lawyer after graduating from Harvard; condemns his father, a blue-blooded white New Englander who thought his children’s fiddle “smelled of the yearning of ‘middle-class’ immigrants”; and turns to quantum physics to transform his past ambitions into a “more expansive” love for music. In restrained but lyrical prose, Hodges moves toward a kind of liberation through and from the “closed system of the canon” to offer a luminous meditation on how art, freedom and identity intertwine. It impresses at every turn. (Tue.)