THE VIOLIN DIARY
Genre: Roman à clef | City Stories
Themes: Passion | Romance | NYC | Europe
The story follows Ezzie, a writer and filmmaker in post-9/11 New York. Ezzie has been living in the city for only a few years since our story picks up. He works retail to support himself, employed in a fictionalized version of the now defunct Virgin Megastore in Times Square (cleverly called the Crossroads Megastore). Ezzie sees the world a little differently than the people around him. He sees the world in detail and the movement of people and objects as part of a grand symphony. A change begins to take place when he meets a pretty Colombian girl who seems to view the world with the same attention to detail as Ezzie. Both are equally fascinated by one another and their views and when all seems to be going well, Ezzie receives word that his love interest is moving off to Europe. He must make the decision on whether or not to let her go or to follow her.
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Critical Feedback & Reviews
"The Violin Diary" is a brief love story told simply, from the point of view of Ezzie, a young man experiencing his first real love. We are with him when he first meets Carmen, the pretty Columbian woman he has been noticing at work. We feel his agony as he struggles to engage her in intelligent conversation; ("`You're new here, right?' I'm a genius.") We are thrilled with him as he notices her response; ("She was looking me directly in the eyes. They never look me in the eyes. Women.") We ache with his frustration when he misses an opportunity to ask her out; ("I am such an idiot. I kick opportunities away like a rock in the street.) We've all been there. Each of us has felt those things. Eric Norcross lays them out on the page as living memorials to his first love--and, by extension, ours.
Like Ezzie, we are delighted by Carmen's straightforward and humorous conversation, and her delightful accent lilts off the page to our minds' ears. Early in the story it is obvious to us (and it may be to Ezzie--on some level) that Carmen has a life plan, and Ezzie is not central to it. But we follow the friendship/romance where it leads us, because we have to; the first date, the first kiss, the first--well, no reason for this reviewer to spoil it for you. The relationship seems doomed to die when Carmen leaves to study art in Germany ("Under normal circumstances, that would have been it for me"), but Ezzie amazes himself by pursuing Carmen to Europe, a step that leads to sometimes painful, sometimes joyous self-growth.
There is rare beauty in the simplicity of the story and the lesson it teaches. In "The Violin Diary" Eric Norcross has written a memorable and uplifting novel.
-Persis R. Granger / Book Pleasures
The Violin Diary is a biographical episode from the author's life in which the fictional character Ezzie stands in for the writer. The first person narrative covers nearly a full year of Ezzie's life. What sets it apart from most other "coming of age" stories is the author's voice, which is genuine, honest, self aware and almost entirely without artifice or pretense. By the end of the book, I felt that I knew Ezzie pretty well.
"The Violin Diary" begins in Times Square, New York, on New Year's Eve, just as the ball is about to drop and 2006 begins. Ezzie is a romantic, an artist with an introspective soul. He understands human behavior (his own and others') and isn't afraid to comment on the peculiarities of the world around him. He works retail at the fictional "Crossroads Megastore" (based on the now defunct Virgin Megastore, Times Square). Right after Ezzie introduces himself to us, he meets Carmen, a young Colombian woman he quickly falls for. While she's been around the block, Ezzie, who is somewhat naïve, is blind to this fact. He doesn't quite understand Carmen's life experience, her range of emotions or her resulting behavior. The story takes us to many part of New York City as well as to Munich, Germany. The descriptions of each city are beautifully worded; they make each location come alive. I highly recommend The Violin Diary to anyone seeking something honest, believable, heartbreaking and ultimately uplifting.
-Eileen (New York)
"The Violin Diary relates two love affairs - one with a woman, one with New York. Both seem to mirror the author’s perception of The City, that “Life in New York always seemed to be moving back and forth, up and down - up and down, back and forth like violin notes; notes that are impressively changing and always dramatic.” Perhaps what is most memorable about this story are the thoughts Norcross poses and then ponders. And there are myriad statements that gave me pause when I read them; some because they are concise gems, others because they document simple gestures that hint of epic proportion when I tilted my perception ever so slightly. While The Violin Diary, on the surface, is a compilation of memories, it is really about one’s heart: where it starts, where it ends, and everything in between. It’s the journey - the everything in between - that matters most because it is what truly defines us."