Senstad, Susan Schwartz 1945-
Senstad, Susan Schwartz 1945-
Born 1945; married. Education: Earned M.A. and M.F.A.; received training in voice dialogue from Dr. Sidra Stone and Dr. Hal Stone.
Home—Oslo, Norway. E-mail—[email protected]
Charles Angoff Award, for Music for the Third Ear.
Music for the Third Ear (novel), Picador USA (New York, NY), 2001.
Contributor to Literary Review.
Susan Schwartz Senstad, a family therapist living in Norway, is the author of Music for the Third Ear, "a piercing portrait of desperate lives," observed Martin Wilson in the Austin Chronicle. The novel centers on Mette and Hans Olav Kaldstad, a Norwegian couple who agree to take in a pair of refugees fleeing the Bosnian war. Mesud Nadarevic, a Muslim who bears the scars of torture, and his wife, Zheljka, a Croatian Catholic who was gang-raped by Serbian soldiers, are angry and hostile, and they soon leave. A disappointed Mette tracks down Zheljka, who reveals that she became pregnant by one of the rapists and gave birth to a son whom she named Zero and, at Mesud's insistence, gave up for adoption. When the childless Mette, the daughter of Holocaust survivors, intercepts a letter from the adoptive father, she decides to bring the boy to Norway. "Senstad tells the story in a tightly constructed jigsaw of shifting points of view, with real compassion for almost all the characters," wrote New York Times Book Review contributor George Robinson.
Music for the Third Ear, Senstad's debut work, received largely positive reviews. The author's "strongest writing comes in the story of Zheljka," commented Richard Eder in the New York Times Book Review. "The repeated rapes are described with details that manage to be horrifying and exalted, as if great suffering merited a great voice." "Without becoming didactic, Senstad examines the poisonous consequences of wartime atrocities—the Holocaust, the Yugoslav conflict—upon the lives of individuals thrown together in their aftermath," noted a critic in Publishers Weekly.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Austin Chronicle, April 27, 2001, Martin Wilson, review of Music for the Third Ear.
Booklist, January 1, 2001, Kristine Huntley, review of Music for the Third Ear, p. 922.
Library Journal, January 1, 2001, Molly Abramowitz, review of Music for the Third Ear, p. 157.
New York Times Book Review, February 23, 2001, Richard Eder, "The Anguish of Souls Echoes across an Era," review of Music for the Third Ear; March 18, 2001, George Robinson, review of Music for the Third Ear.
Publishers Weekly, December 11, 2000, review of Music for the Third Ear, p. 64.
Times Literary Supplement, April 21, 2000, review of Music for the Third Ear, p. 23.
Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), March 31, 2002, review of Music for the Third Ear, p. 7.
Washington Post Book World, February 4, 2001, Laura Beers, "Stories of War, Remembrance and Other Brutalities, from El Salvador to Norway," review of Music for the Third Ear, p. 7.