Book Review: Concerto in Chroma Major

Naomi Tajedler

Rating: 1 out of 5.

published: 12th July 2018
spoilers? yes


Alexandra Graff, a Californian living in Paris, is a stained-glass artist whose synesthesia gives her the ability to see sounds in the form of colors. When she’s commissioned to create glass panels for the new Philharmonie, she forms a special bond with the intriguing Halina Piotrowski, a famous Polish pianist. As their relationship develops, Alexandra shows Halina the beautiful images her music inspires. But when it comes to a lasting future together, will Halina’s fear of roots and commitment stand in the way?

Galley provided by publisher

File this under “books that make me suffer when reviewing because I’m having to relive the whole damn mess”. My one word review here would be “Disappointed”. Capital d and everything. 

The good things

– Were there any? 

The bad things

– I wanna say it started off alright, but, in truth, it really didn’t. I was only a chapter in when I realised the writing was not for me. I don’t want to say bad, because it wasn’t nearly as awful as some stuff I’ve read, but it wasn’t good. It was in present tense (already a killer for me), but it was also really purple prosey and it ended up falling flat. 

– Anna is the best person to talk about the Polish rep, but let me just say. I got some excellent reactions everytime I sent her something with the Polish character. 

– The fatphobia. Yikes. 

“Not your type.” Halina barks out a short laugh and rests her head against the window, her eyes lost in nocturnal Paris outside. “What’s not my type?” “American. And chubby.” They laugh derisively. “Like I said, not your type.”

“I didn’t expect someone of her type to be… hardworking, so to speak.” “Her type?” […] “Oh, come on, Lina,” Ari says with a small, uncertain laugh. “People like her, yeah. Didn’t you say she’s bi? And she’s a fatty too. Neither have the best rep.”

– The biphobia. Also yikes. (See quote above.) And yeah, it kind of gets challenged, but only by Alexandra, and for the angst plotline. It’s not challenged before that, and Ari’s biphobia and fatphobia never is. And the whole romance with Alexandra seems designed to teach Halina that actually bi and fat people are alright! 

– There is zero tension between Alexandra and Halina. They have sex like 5 chapters in and then there’s a two week timeskip and suddenly Alexandra is in love with her. Their whole relationship is predicated on lust and there is no tension. So there’s no reason for me to care when it comes to the point that they break up and there’s angst. 

– This scene. 

She [Alexandra] orders a Continental Sour and subtly checks to make sure the kimono fold of her dress is not too revealing. Just the top of her cleavage is showing. Good. Her outfit marks her as the quirky American artist who can bring color to the lives…

– The whole “”love triangle”” between Leo, Halina and Alexandra was tedious and overdone. I say “”love triangle”” because it was more like Leo still wanted Alexandra and thought they were “destined” to end up together, while Halina was, despite being a complete bitch at times, the one Alexandra actually wanted. But of course they had to keep having metaphorical dick measuring contests and not actually like each other. 

Those are the major things but if you want more, I made a whole thread here. To quote Michelle, “yoinks”.

3 thoughts on “Book Review: Concerto in Chroma Major

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