Book Blog: BELLWEATHER RHAPSODY by Kate Racculia
What if Glee and Heathers had a baby and sent it to band camp at the Overlook Hotel?
You know those rare, rapturous moments when you find an author whose voice you love so completely you want to drop everything and go find every book they’ve ever written? Yeah, that.
A high school music festival goes awry when a young prodigy disappears from a hotel room that was the site of a famous crime, in a whip-smart novel sparkling with the dark and giddy pop culture pleasures of The Shining, Agatha Christie, and Glee
Fifteen years ago, a murder/suicide in room 712 rocked the grand old Bellweather Hotel and the young bridesmaid who witnessed it. Now hundreds of high school musicians, including quiet bassoonist Rabbit Hatmaker and his brassy diva twin, Alice, have gathered in its cavernous, crumbling halls for the annual Statewide festival; the grown-up bridesmaid has returned to face her demons; and a snowstorm is forecast that will trap everyone on the grounds. Then one of the orchestra’s stars disappears—from room 712. Is it a prank, or has murder struck the Bellweather once again?
The search for answers entwines a hilariously eccentric cast of characters—conductors and caretakers, failures and stars, teenagers on the verge and adults trapped in memories. For everyone has come to the Bellweather with a secret, and everyone is haunted.
If you find yourself trying to explain “voice” to someone, point them to Kate Racculia. Here are the opening lines from BELLWEATHER RHAPSODY:
Minnie Graves is a bridesmaid.
She hates it.
Her bangs are crispy with Aqua Net. Her ponytail is so tight her forehead aches. Her feet throb in shoes that are a size too small, Mary Janes dyed special to match the totally rancid dress Minnie’s big sister, Jennifer, picked out just for her. There’s a thing called a crinoline and she has to remember to always cross her legs and it’s a total pain in her twelve-year-old ass. And it’s pink. “It’s not pink, it’s cranberry wine,” Jennifer said, but Minnie, whose big brother, Mike, tells her about all the horror movies he watches, thinks she looks like someone dumped a bucket of pig’s blood on her.
Even if you don’t fall completely in love with Racculia’s voice like I did (Wait, what? I’m sorry, but I don’t think I can be your BFF anymore), as a writer you have to marvel at the challenge she’s given herself with this story. Here's how she describes it while discussing the playlist for BELLWEATHER RHAPSODY on the blog largehearted boy:
Dude."I outlined Bellweather as a piece of music, with a prelude and a postlude and four movements, each representing a day over a single four-day weekend and marked with a tempo that grows from an andante to a scherzo to an allegro. I thought of my eight close third-person main characters as soloists, some of them literally represented by an instrument (Rabbit plays bassoon, Natalie and Fisher played piano, Alice sings), but all of them moving in and out of each other's plotlines, aggregating, as those plots come together, like notes in a chord. But it wasn't just in terms of structure that I brought music into Bellweather: I wanted to try to write narrative descriptions of how music sounds and, more critically, feels."
Also, the audiobook is read by Jessica Almasy and she is awesome. She’s right up there with Jim Dale in that I will listen to pretty much anything she narrates.
I could rhapsodize about this novel for days, but I’m off to buy Racculia’s first novel THIS MUST BE THE PLACE.