I won’t pretend that I went into this book knowing much about Hawaii, opera music, or Austrian-Soviet relations in the 1960s. However, Williams’ gorgeous language makes it easy to understand all three. The story slowly unfolds, and while I sometimes wished it would pick up the pace, it felt very deliberate, as if Williams was conducting her novel like a piece of music written adagio (and yes, I did have to Google that musical term for “tempo having slow movement”).
Aloha, Mozart is very literary, and is the perfect novel to add to shelves for readers looking for something a touch more challenging after fluffy summer reads. This title will especially do well in communities that have a large musical culture. But opera novices shouldn’t be turned off; it’s a wonderful story of chasing your dreams and working hard to overcome difficult circumstances.