Book Review: A Thousand Perfect Notes


Emtehan Alam


A Thousand Perfect Notes, is the dark tale of Beck Keverich, the son of a famous German pianist, Ida Magdalena Keverich. Beck’s mother no longer plays piano because of stroke rehabilitation. Since then, her goal in life has been to make her son a pianist as well, so that the world doesn’t forget her name and her genius. She physically abuses him for never being a good enough pianist. But Beck continues doodling his own compositions inside his head. 

He has a head full of his own music that no one cares about. He feels like cutting off his hands if he can’t make his mother say well done. He wants to be the best brother to his 5-years-old little sister, Joey, and buy her chocolates every day. He finds August, when he is in desperate need of a friend, a sprightly girl who never wears shoes, who brings guts in Beck, and helps him unlock his own music. August is the safest place where Beck wants to be uncountable times, to feel possibilities. After a thousand wrong notes, Beck finally manages to make the Keverich name shine with remarkable assistance from August.

Beck’s mother is the most violent character I’ve ever seen. I hated the way she wanted her popularity to thrive through her son. It was the most wrenching cruelty, though I liked her strong addressing. I found Beck to be a most precious boy in fiction. He is a very affectionate elder brother for Joey who is the most adorable little thing I still want to take on my lap and treat chocolate bars. When I read the line, “Joey’s wearing clothes from a second hand sale—red jumper, polka dot leggings and pink glitter gumboots”, my heart ached with endearment, and I wanted to hug her for hours. Not to mention, August is the sunshine in this dark tale. I loved the relationship between August and Beck for its purity. The writing style is beautiful. This story is emotionally charged with domestic violence, abuse, music, love for animals and one’s self-worth. 

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