As I was reading this morning (Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith [aka JK Rowlings]), the narrator casually mentions watching a show about art and the camera pans the room, to include a bust of Beethoven. There is a smidge of discussion about how the protagonist looks a bit like Beethoven and then the story moves on.
But as the story continued, I was distracted by the thought of the Beethoven bust. Hadn’t a bust of Beethoven just been a book I finished last week? And wasn’t there a bust of Beethoven in a book I read a couple of months ago. Time to backtrack in my reading history.
There was indeed a bust of Beethoven in Transcription by Kate Atkinson. It was included in a description of a room and then later was used by a Nazi sympathizer to try to escape from the MI5 agents who had uncovered her treachery.
The previous literary bust turned out to be Baudelaire, not Beethoven, in The Alice Network by Kate Quinn. In that book, the Nazi (yeah, I know you ‘ve all heard me say I’m sick of WWII books, but apparently not that sick) uses a bust of Baudelaire to break the fingers of the young spy. Gruesome.
I have no idea what this means to the larger world, that busts of Beethoven and Baudelaire have shown up repeatedly in my reading the last few months, but it’s fascinating to me.
Pick a bust for your living room… any composer, artist, writer or super hero. Living or dead. Who is it?