Novecento, by Alessandro Baricco, tells the story of a baby abandoned on a huge cruise ship in 1900. It is the year that this baby was born, which gave its name. The baby, left in a box on the piano, starts living on the ship and spends his whole life there, playing the piano fascinatingly. Novecento becomes the house musician and forms a band. His reputation spreads far and wide, despite the fact that he never leaves the ship. One day, Jelly Roll Morton, hearing of Novecento’s ability, decides to travel on the ship to see this young talent. On the first two rounds, Novecento only plays ordinary tunes and Jelly Roll is easily able to prove his musical superiority but, on the final round, Novecento blows him away and Jelly Roll retires to his cabin and takes the next liner back to America. Novecento stays on the ship and, even when it is sent to scrap, the narrator tracks him down to the scrap yard, waiting on the ship, dynamite all ready to go.
We listen to this exquisite character’s story from a musician who boards the ship to play the trumpet.
Baricco tells a wonderful story, sympathetic to his hero, his enclosed world and his music. Novecento’s actions and talents are never explained or interpreted. They just are. All he needs are 88 keys and he is away, transported to other worlds.
All of our students were intrigued and charmed by this talented character and by the delicate narration of the author. So, the Images and the music were carefully chosen in making of this booktrailer full of poetry and tenderness.