In The Music Teacher, a penetrating and richly entertaining look into the heart and mind of a woman who has failed both as an artist and as a wife, Barbara Hall, award-winning creator and writer of such hit television series as Judging Amy and Joan of Arcadia, tells the story of a violinist who has accepted the limitations of her talent and looks for the casual satisfaction of trying to instill her passion for music in others. She gets more than she bargains for, however, when a young girl named Hallie enters her life. For here at last is the real thing: someone with the talent and potential to be truly great. In her drive to shape this young girl into the artist the teacher could never be, she makes one terrible mistake. As a result she is forced to reevaluate her whole life and come to terms with her future.
Hall has crafted a thoroughly engrossing novel that examines the pitfalls of failure and holds up a mirror to the face of a culture that places success and achievement above all else.
It's High Fidelity for the orchestra set in this slim, assured drama. Among the clerks and instructors of McCoy's music store is Pearl Swain, a recently divorced violin instructor and almost a great violinist who spends most of her time mourning her perceived failures her marriage, her musical career and her various relationships. But when Pearl meets Hallie Bolaris, a promising young musician with a troubled history, she recognizes in her young student a natural ear, and soon Pearl convinces herself that Hallie is the world's next violin prodigy. She immediately hatches a plan to mentor and train Hallie for the life she herself never had, but Pearl's interest in her favored student soon diverges from her musical training and builds toward a more disheartening climax. Hall, who wrote for television shows Judging Amy and Joan of Arcadia, doesn't shy away from the sour notes of lost dreams, failed careers and misguided intentions, and her novel, despite its heavier than necessary dose of navel-gazing, rings true because of it.