An Essay or a Story?: Review of A Sad, Sad Symphony

A Sad, Sad Symphony stands as a very short piece of fiction by Christian Mihai, the author of Jazz.  Unlike his prior work, this one focuses on a more academic topic: why do artists produce art?  The principle characters are Oscar Wilde and Francisc Goyer.  The latter is  composer and friend of Oscar Wilde.  The pain of the separation of Francisc and his girlfriend ignites Goyer’s inspiration for a new symphony.  He discovers that before he was composing for someone else, but now believes that the true reason for his composing music is more intrinsic to himself.

Why write

The three most impressive things about this work lie in its description of Francisc’s creative drive, the discussion about art, and the nature of the artist’s attachment to his art.  However, one cannot feel much for the characters’ struggles and desires.  The characters lack individuality such that one feels as though Mihai might as well have named Francisc Artist A and Wilde Artist B.  They both are so devoted to art that their personalities have become sacrificed to it.  If Mihai had been able to add more individuality to these principle figures, this could have been a great short story.  As it is, A Sad, Sad Symphony reminds the reader more of an exposition.

Well, I have many more novels by Christian Mihai on my reading list.  I expect that the others will convey more of the original genius I found in Jazz.  Stay tuned for those reviews.

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