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The Maestro [Paperback]

Tim Wynne-Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 16 2004

Burl Crow hasn't had many breaks in his young life. His father is a manipulative lout with a dangerous temper; his mother, worn down by years of abuse, now resorts to her little helpers to get her through the days. Then he meets Nathaniel Orlando Gow, the Maestro, and in just one day, this eccentric genius changes Burl's life forever.


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From Amazon

Winner of the Governor General's Award for Children's Literature and the Canadian Library Association's Book of the Year for Children, Tim Wynne-Jones's The Maestro is an unforgettably stunning novel about one boy's discovery of just who he really is. Fourteen-year-old Burl Crow is hiding from his father when he see the most extraordinary sight that he has ever seen--a helicopter flying a grand piano over the northern Ontario forests where he lives. Running away from home, Burl accidentally discovers the isolated lakeside retreat that eccentric pianist Nathaniel Gow, the maestro of the title, has had built for himself, where he can finish his oratorio away from the demands of the musical world. Their chance encounter leaves Burl with a refuge from his abusive father--when the maestro returns to Toronto, he leaves Burl to look after the cabin and his grand piano. Burl's dreams of a secure future crumble when he discovers that Gow has died in Toronto, but he decides that he's going to try to use his encounter with the maestro to escape from his father once and for all. The Maestro is a compelling and powerful novel by one of Canada's finest writers for young people. Readers who enjoy The Maestro might also enjoy Wynne-Jones's Stephen Fair and The Boy in the Burning House. (Ages 12 and older) --Jeffrey Canton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

The wilderness of northwest Ontario is a fitting setting for this tantalizing coming-of-age story about an abused boy, Burl, whose pervasive sense of isolation is cracked by an encounter with a famous pianist. When Burl runs away from home, he follows the sound of piano music and finds its source in an unlikely, pyramid-like cabin. There, the Maestro, as Burl is instructed to call him, having fled busy Toronto and the demands of his public, is trying to finish writing his great oratorio before he dies. When the quirky Maestro leaves Burl in charge of the cabin and his grand piano, Burl thinks he's found a haven-but it's not long before events hurl the teen into a web of other people's plans and back to his own family trauma. Wynne-Jones's (Some of the Kinder Planets) builds strong, multidimensional characters; Burl's father Cal both teaches his son about fishing lures and punches him in the face; Burl triumphantly dreams of living alone but is desolate that his parents never bothered to report him missing; the Maestro loves nature but fears wildlife. Complex and poignant, wrapped around a dramatic story line, this book won Canada's Governor General's Award for Children's Literature in 1995. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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BURL TOOK THAT INCIDENT AT CAL'S FISHING hole, wrapped it in a cloth of silence and placed it in a small drawer in his thoughts. Read the first page
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Most helpful customer reviews
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This book, written for "young adults", can be read and appreciated by people of any age. It is both unsentimental and uncompromising, yet positive in its outlook; and although it certainly has no "happy ending" it leaves the reader with a sense of hope both for the book's young hero and humanity in general. It concerns a young boy who is forced rather suddenly to confront the problems of growing up and facing a rather impersonal and uncaring adult world that offers no concessions to his youth and inexperience.This fourteen-year-old boy, Burl Crow, lives in northern Canada with his violent bully of a father and his defeated mother who has retreated into a haze of comforting medication, and is no longer able to intervene to help her son in his struggle to survive his father's abuse. Eventually the boy flees his intolerable situation and runs away from home into the forest wilderness where, although he knows a fair deal about survival in the bush, he realises he is too young to survive alone and unaided. But here, in a cottage by a lake, he encounters 'the Maestro', a strange and reclusive musician who is trying to escape from the pressures of his woldwide fame and the conventions of city life by losing himself in the solitude of the North , where he can think, compose music, and breathe free of the unwanted intrusions of society. Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This book, written for "young adults", can be read and appreciated by people of any age. It is both unsentimental and uncompromising, yet positive in its outlook; and although it certainly has no "happy ending" it leaves the reader with a sense of hope both for the book's young hero and humanity in general. It concerns a young boy who is forced rather suddenly to confront the problems of growing up and facing a rather impersonal and uncaring adult world that offers no concessions to his youth and inexperience.This fourteen-year-old boy, Burl Crow, lives in northern Canada with his violent bully of a father and his defeated mother who has retreated into a haze of comforting medication, and is no longer able to intervene to help her son in his struggle to survive his father's abuse. Eventually the boy flees his intolerable situation and runs away from home into the forest wilderness where, although he knows a fair deal about survival in the bush, he realises he is too young to survive alone and unaided. But here, in a cottage by a lake, he encounters 'the Maestro', a strange and reclusive musician who is trying to escape from the pressures of his woldwide fame and the conventions of city life by losing himself in the solitude of the North , where he can think, compose music, and breathe free of the unwanted intrusions of society. Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for kids in difficult family situations March 27 1997
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
The Maestro in the book seems to resemble Glen Gould. Any connection
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A moving story that both adults and youngsters can value Feb. 10 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book, written for "young adults", can be read and appreciated by people of any age. It is both unsentimental and uncompromising, yet positive in its outlook; and although it certainly has no "happy ending" it leaves the reader with a sense of hope both for the book's young hero and humanity in general. It concerns a young boy who is forced rather suddenly to confront the problems of growing up and facing a rather impersonal and uncaring adult world that offers no concessions to his youth and inexperience.This fourteen-year-old boy, Burl Crow, lives in northern Canada with his violent bully of a father and his defeated mother who has retreated into a haze of comforting medication, and is no longer able to intervene to help her son in his struggle to survive his father's abuse. Eventually the boy flees his intolerable situation and runs away from home into the forest wilderness where, although he knows a fair deal about survival in the bush, he realises he is too young to survive alone and unaided. But here, in a cottage by a lake, he encounters 'the Maestro', a strange and reclusive musician who is trying to escape from the pressures of his woldwide fame and the conventions of city life by losing himself in the solitude of the North , where he can think, compose music, and breathe free of the unwanted intrusions of society.This strange and somewhat eccentric man (the character is definitely based on the great Canadian pianist Glenn Gould; all the ideas, mannerisms and idiosyncrasies are his although the author has admitted he changed the name to avoid any disputes or restrictions imposed by the lawyers of Gould's estate) is persuaded somewhat reluctantly to offer shelter to the young boy, and they strike up an odd and hesitant friendship that you feel will ultimately benefit both the inexperienced boy who has learnt the hard way to hide his feelings and trust nobody, and the lonely and admittedly eccentric older man who obviously has problems relating to other human beings yet lives passionately for his art. Both have trouble understanding the other, yet a certain respect and acceptance grows between them, and the reader feels that the boy even begins to feel a kind of exasperated love for his awkward companion that he could never feel for his real father. What happens next has a feeling of inevitability. It is sad, even tragic, and by the end of the book the reader is left with a vast regret for the loss of something wonderful and irreplaceable; the boy is forced against his will into action to save the abusive father who returns into his life, and thereby loses a great dream he had for the future.But his encounter with the Maestro, although uncompromising and not perhaps helpful in a practical or protective way, has changed him forever and given him the power to face the future with strength and confidence. This is a positive book, although disturbing in parts. The relationship it depicts makes the reader consider that there are ways of changing and evolving and helping each other that are subtle and perhaps not easy to express in words; the author shows how this can come about simply by two people experiencing and respecting each other without really intervening actively with each others lives. Burl Crow has to grow up depending on his own thoughts and decisions, without relying on anyone in the outside world to help, yet he is enabled to do this largely by a chance encounter with a very strange and wonderful man...so we are left with a sense of hope after all. Read this book. You will be glad you did.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A moving story that both adults and youngsters can value Feb. 10 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book, written for "young adults", can be read and appreciated by people of any age. It is both unsentimental and uncompromising, yet positive in its outlook; and although it certainly has no "happy ending" it leaves the reader with a sense of hope both for the book's young hero and humanity in general. It concerns a young boy who is forced rather suddenly to confront the problems of growing up and facing a rather impersonal and uncaring adult world that offers no concessions to his youth and inexperience.This fourteen-year-old boy, Burl Crow, lives in northern Canada with his violent bully of a father and his defeated mother who has retreated into a haze of comforting medication, and is no longer able to intervene to help her son in his struggle to survive his father's abuse. Eventually the boy flees his intolerable situation and runs away from home into the forest wilderness where, although he knows a fair deal about survival in the bush, he realises he is too young to survive alone and unaided. But here, in a cottage by a lake, he encounters 'the Maestro', a strange and reclusive musician who is trying to escape from the pressures of his woldwide fame and the conventions of city life by losing himself in the solitude of the North , where he can think, compose music, and breathe free of the unwanted intrusions of society.This strange and somewhat eccentric man (the character is definitely based on the great Canadian pianist Glenn Gould; all the ideas, mannerisms and idiosyncrasies are his although the author has admitted he changed the name to avoid any disputes or restrictions imposed by the lawyers of Gould's estate) is persuaded somewhat reluctantly to offer shelter to the young boy, and they strike up an odd and hesitant friendship that you feel will ultimately benefit both the inexperienced boy who has learnt the hard way to hide his feelings and trust nobody, and the lonely and admittedly eccentric older man who obviously has problems relating to other human beings yet lives passionately for his art. Both have trouble understanding the other, yet a certain respect and acceptance grows between them, and the reader feels that the boy even begins to feel a kind of exasperated love for his awkward companion that he could never feel for his real father. What happens next has a feeling of inevitability. It is sad, even tragic, and by the end of the book the reader is left with a vast regret for the loss of something wonderful and irreplaceable; the boy is forced against his will into action to save the abusive father who returns into his life, and thereby loses a great dream he had for the future.But his encounter with the Maestro, although uncompromising and not perhaps helpful in a practical or protective way, has changed him forever and given him the power to face the future with strength and confidence. This is a positive book, although disturbing in parts. The relationship it depicts makes the reader consider that there are ways of changing and evolving and helping each other that are subtle and perhaps not easy to express in words; the author shows how this can come about simply by two people experiencing and respecting each other without really intervening actively with each others lives. Burl Crow has to grow up depending on his own thoughts and decisions, without relying on anyone in the outside world to help, yet he is enabled to do this largely by a chance encounter with a very strange and wonderful man...so we are left with a sense of hope after all. Read this book. You will be glad you did.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book -- for both children and adults April 29 2000
By Anne M. Marble - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Maybe I'm biased about this book because the character of "The Maestro" (Nathaniel Orlando Gow) is obviously based on Canadian pianist Glenn Gould. Nope. It would still be a good book, even if the character were based on, say, Mitch Miller.
Tim Wynne-Jones understands more about childhood and relationships than a lot of writers. Don't expect the usual out of this book. There is action and drama, but it is also a subtle book in many ways.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A BRILLIANT PIECE OF WRITING Feb. 27 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I just finished this book -- Very original story, hauntingly well written. Fantastic read. Draws you right in and you are THERE!! I am VERY impressed with this author's talent!WOW!
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Maestro Dec 14 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Tim Wynne-Jones, Canadian author, wrote "The Maestro." The novel is about a young boy named Burl Crow, who runs away from his abusive father one day, and starts an unbelievible adventure. The setting in this novel is excellent. While you are reading the novel, you can see all of the images that Tim Wynne-Jones is describing. You can see the beautiful lake, with a triangle shaped cabin sitting right along the shore, of the sandy beach. I feel that there is an important issue that needs to be looked at, Child Abuse. We need to try to bring Child Abuse to an end. I would recommend this novel to teenagers and to adults.
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