If the adage brevity is the soul of wit is true, then The Black Violin is the wittiest piece of writing I have read in years.
The story combines a master violinist with a superior violin maker who studied in Stradivarius' workshop. After spending much time together, they find that they have even more in common: a phantom woman with whom both have fallen in love. Their final fates are further intertwined when the accomplishment of their lifelong goals (to write an opera and to build the best violin) come true with unexpected assistance from the woman of their dreams and result in similar outcomes. It is a tale of coincidence and fate and the consequences of both.
Fermine succinctly uses dialogue as skillful embellishment of a scene without overpowering it. He so intricately weaves the setting that the scent of the Venetian canals almost wafts from the pages. The pacing is almost musical, moving from adagio to arpeggio to convey character emotion and plot, and building to a dramatic crescendo that leaves the reader breathless.
The Black Violin is a required read for fiction lovers. It should also be mandatory reading for aspiring and established writers. It brilliantly illustrates that less is more even in writing. Personally, I am now on a mission to read everything that Maxence Fermine has ever written or will ever write.