A powerful novel of family secrets, doomed passion, and the fragile love between a bisexual man and an emotionally damaged woman
A talented musician, James arrives in Italy in 1983, just ahead of the panic in New York City caused by the burgeoning AIDS epidemic. In Rome, the Eternal City, he meets Diana. Their attraction is intense and immediate. A passionate relationship is born and soon they are inseparable, reveling in their shared love of art and Italian culture. But storm clouds hang over their union: dark secrets of abuse from his youth, her pain over her brother’s death, and James’s open admission that he has known other men sexually. Back in New York, their relationship falls apart. For James and Diana, it is time to move on; to come to terms with the ghosts that haunt their lives and family histories; to find new paths and new lovers. But the darkness of their relationship is inescapable and persistent even though their love is gone. James has received news that will impact both their lives in devastating ways: He is HIV positive. Joseph Olshan’s The Sound of Heaven is an extraordinary novel, at once romantic and troubling, terrifying and compassionate.