Few writers know more about the dark, sometimes scandalous workings of the music business than Norman Lebrecht, the author of "The Maestro Myth: Great Conductors in Pursuit of Power" (Simon & Schuster, 1991) and the illuminating "Who Killed Classical Music?: Maestros, Managers, and Corporate Politics" (Birch Lane Press, 1997). A longtime newspaper columnist and host of a BBC Radio 3 show, "Lebrecht Live," he won the Whitbread First Novel Award for "The Song of Names," a brilliant debut and a dazzling piece of fiction.
Jonathan Wilson's new novel, "A Palestine Affair," opens, quite spectacularly as Mark Bloomberg, a painter, and his non-Jewish American wife, Joyce, having just made love in their new Jerusalem home, go outside to their garden. A softly moaning, bleeding man in Arab dress rushes toward Mark, hugs him, then crashes to the ground dead. The man is Jacob De Groot, a Dutch Jewish poet, and his murder radically alters the lives of nearly everyone in the novel.