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Publisher's Summary

A magnificent, multifaceted novel about a supremely gifted - and divided - family, set against the backdrop of postwar America

On Easter day, 1939, at Marian Anderson's epochal concert on the Washington Mall, David Strom, a German Jewish emigre scientist, meets Delia Daley, a young Philadelphia Negro studying to be a singer. Their mutual love of music draws them together, and - against all odds and better judgment - they marry. They vow to raise their children beyond time, beyond identity, steeped in song. But their three children must survive America's brutal here and now. 

Jonah, Joseph, and Ruth grow up during the Civil Rights era, come of age in the violent 1960s, and live out adulthood in the racially retrenched late century. Jonah, the eldest, "whose voice could make heads of state repent", follows a life in his parents' beloved classical music. Ruth, the youngest, chooses a militant activism and repudiates the white culture her brother represents. Joseph, the middle child and the narrator of this generational tale, struggles to remain connected to them both. 

The Time of Our Singing is a story of self-invention, allegiance, race, cultural ownership, the compromised power of music, and the tangled loops of time that rewrite all belonging.

©2003 Richard Powers (P)2018 Recorded Books

What listeners say about The Time of Our Singing

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  • Overall
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A truly life changing book

After reading The Overstory I began searching out Richard Powers books. All of his writing is deep, insightful and thought provoking. The Time of Our Singing will stay with me for the rest of my life.

3 people found this helpful

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Undigested Erudition

One hour into this book, I am going to return it. I thought the Overstory was magnificent (although the writing itself was uninteresting) in its mix of engaging story, real science, and lucid, frightful ecological warning. The Time of Our Singing is, to my taste, badly written with the author's prodigeous knowledge slathered around capriciously...as if he was constantly sweating to make an interesting point (and it's like that nearly every sentence). Tedious. I'm going to try another Powers book,maybe the Gold Bug.

2 people found this helpful

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Time loops with these words

Every moment of this book is worth the movement through time. Lift me up, and oh - the end. It’s like prayer and song.

1 person found this helpful

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Narrator should look up how to pronounce musical terms and composers

It is wonderfully expansive story about music, family, and race with many historical references. I really got to know and love the characters. The narrator should be more informed with regard to music.

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Busyreader

Horrible
What a waste of a book. Voice artist had crap material to work with

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USA, Race, historical fiction

I love this author. This was the second book of his I have listened to by him. I found them both to be important topics that may well be the death ofbthis country. I read a few reviews before listening. Every book I listen to about race and racism have abundant reviews by offended white people. I don't believe the most of them actually listened to this book.

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complex and moving

Richard Powers does a stupendous job of character development maintaining suspense while weaving themes of time, music, science, racism and what it means to be black in America. I was completely captivated by descriptions of scenes: musical performance, whether in the living room of the protagonist's family or in the concert hallls or in a speakeasy Atlantic City came alive and I could both see and hear the music. The same is true as we follow the characters attempting to define their lives and their identities as biracial children, unaccepted as either black or white.

The performance is also stupendous, consistently maintaining a rhythm never lost my interest or attention.

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Brilliant. Powerful. A must read

This book is a must read for anyone struggling to understand race in the US.

Richard Powers is a genius.

The reading performance is the Best I've heard.

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Our Time of Singing is Beautiful

The depths of all that is beyond the outer sheath of this world 's seeming reality is beautifully stitched together in this masterpiece of writing. Incredible! If you love music, art, that glorious richness of Other that surrounds and encompasses us all, you will love this book.

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Timely read

For those, the privileged, by the fortune of chance to be born white in America.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-21-19

Incredible

The most beautiful, expertly crafted piece of literature I have ever encountered. Simply stunning! Powers’ is a genius!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-29-21

time of our singing

brilliant book, inspiring, poetic storytelling against the background of American history - especially of racism. excellent

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  • Roslyn
  • 07-19-20

Musical

A long, complex and beautiful telling of the lives of two amazing young men. A great recount in historical contexts.