The Universe in 3/4 Time
2021 / Merle Books, Brussels
Review by Kathy Parsons
I have read many, many times that you should always write about what you know and Leona Francombe has certainly done that with her novel, The Universe in 3/4 Time. A concert pianist from a very young age, the world of music is something she knows and understands far better than most writers do. That she was also blessed with a superb writing talent brings something very special and unique to her readers. I found myself mesmerized by this story every time I picked it up and often wished I had more time to sit and read. I was a piano teacher for 40 years until Covid set in, and most of my days are spent writing music reviews and/or proof-reading sheet music, so a big part of my own life has also revolved around music and musicians. Prior to this book, I don't think I've ever read a novel where musicians were portrayed in a way that rang as true as they do in this book. Music itself is one of the main characters and there is a fascinating philosophical discussion about what music is and its role in the universe that runs throughout the book.
There are three timelines in this story - the 1600's with a mix of philosophy and physics, the WWII era, and the present time. They are all related, but it doesn't mesh completely until near the end of the book. Most of the story revolves around a mysterious piano that suddenly appears one night on the streets of Brussels. A few characters are introduced while trying to discover who the piano belongs to and then the story broadens in time, scope and locations. There is a fairly large cast of characters, but they are vividly described which makes it much easier to keep them straight.
I found the story told in The Universe in 3/4 Time compelling and intriguing from cover to cover. It's my favorite book from the past several years and I plan to read it again to get even deeper into the characters and the philosophies being discussed. I bought additional copies of the book to give to friends for Christmas, so that should serve as a very positive endorsement!
The Universe in 3/4 Time is available as a paperback book or an eBook from Amazon. I give it my highest recommendation!
December 6, 2021