Three Part Invention
by Judith Laura
Open Sea Press / September 2009 /
trade paperback / 6"x9" / 382 pages /
List price $14.95 / ISBN 9780578029948/ Distributed by Ingram
Paper used in this book printed in the US is Sustainable Forestry Initiative Certified (SFC®),
Paper used in this book printed in the UK is Forest Stewardship Council Mixed Credit FSC C084699
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Now also available in virtually all e-book formats including Kindle E-book , Nook Book, Kobo, Sony, and itunes.
Three generations of mothers and daughters take center stage, with 20th century events as backdrop, in this novel of depth and humor spotlighting the power of music—from classical to jazz to rock and international folk—and the tug between ethnic loyalty and global consciousness.
Alice, a classical pianist and daughter of Eastern-European Jewish immigrants, marries violinist Izzy shortly before World War II. After their daughter Beth is born they move from New York City to the fictional town of Delaware City, New Jersey, where Izzy works in a furniture store. As she raises Beth, Alice exhibits prejudices too common in her generation against people racially and ethnically different from herself. Yet, in her own way, she is open to a variety of experiences. Alice’s world includes a psychic aunt, a piano teacher of Native American and Irish descent, an adult piano student in a wheelchair who reads palms, and her close friend Sophie, who has a daughter Beth’s age.
Beth grows up in Delaware City caught between her mother’s value system, her own ideas—and her quest for social acceptance. Beth's resentment over being made to study piano deepens the rift between her and her mother. In her teens, Beth is introduced to rhythm & blues by African American high school girls. Beth’s love of this music soon extends to rock, and then jazz—all of which her mother dislikes. At college in Ohio, Beth becomes involved in the early civil rights movement with her closest friends Melissa, a budding reporter and sexual explorer; Valerie, Beth’s intellectual mentor, whose family is evasive about their Native American ancestry and who ponders her possible lesbianism; and Julius, a Black civil rights activist who challenges Beth’s beliefs and self-image.
Alexis, Beth's daughter, is born in Denver. As a pre-schooler, she finds herself in an uncertain world, often confused because her learning disabilities reduce her communication skills. Yet she finds she can do remarkable things with music. Tension develops between Alexis and her mother as Beth struggles to overcome profound changes in her life.
These three distinct voices give us an unforgettable picture of the complexities of the mother-daughter relationship and of how women in three generations approach war, love, sex, death, career, friendship—and each other.
This is the second edition of Three Part Invention. The first edition was published in 2002 in a 5.5x8.5 format, with a different cover and higher price. Though it was taken out-of-print a number of years ago, you may still encounter it at some online booksellers. The easiest way to quickly find the newer, 6x9 edition is to search by isbn number 9780578029948 or use the bookseller links below.
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"Judith Laura's Three Part Invention is a compelling story
of mothers and daughters, the conflicts in their relationship, and their efforts to help
one another. Three Part Invention is highly recommended as a moving and emotional
~ Midwest Book Review
"I was engrossed in the characters and wanted to
continue reading....Judith Laura is quite good about getting into the heads of three very
different women, at different times in their lives and gives us a good sense of the time
they live through....I would not hesitate to recommend this book."
~Naomi Graetz, author of Silence is Deadly
"By the time I was a third of the way through, I
found myself admiring the way Laura is able to use distinctive "voices" for each
character, including the two who are first presented to the reader as children, and how
world events have peripheral effects rather than directly driving the action. Half way
through, and I wanted to keep reading to find out what was going to happen next. . . . I
knew it was a good book because when it ended I wanted more."
~The Beltane Papers
"This is a beautiful story, well written and sure to
"A beautiful narrative about three generations of women --
fellow musicians will love it in particular."
~E L Song, Bookreporter.com
"Fabulous book....This novel is engrossing. I
highly recommend it. "
~Marie Logan, Amazon.com's Listmania!
"A good story...well written"
"....Judith Laura's novel, Three Part Invention, runs the gamut of
emotions; a child's confusion challenges the world of religion and prejudice; a
mother's pain and self-doubt lead to depression....As a non-Jewish reader, I was
fascinated by the details of Jewish life...But Beth grows up and now it's
college life, music, racial integration, coffee shops, the Committee for Human
Rights (and the question of whether it's a Communist front) that fill the pages.
Looking at prejudice from many different directions, and history from the
vantage point of someone living through it; listening to traditions and music,
and growing accustomed to the different voices of this novel's protagonists;
feeling the winds of change blow through the pages; Three Part Invention
tells Ali's story in three parts, building her from her family up, and leaving
the reader on the stage as the future begins."
~S. Deeth (Sheila Deeth), Vine Voice Reviewer, Amazon.com
Judith Laura is also author of multiple-awarded novel, Beyond All Desiring, and three other books. Her fiction, poetry, and articles have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. She has worked as a reporter and magazine editor. She grew up in Ewing, NJ, graduated from Ohio University, and now lives near Washington, DC.
Here are links to some of the internet booksellers
carrying the 2009 Open Sea Press edition:
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