The Song of Names by Norman Lebrecht
Two boys are growing up in wartime London. Martin is an only child, imprisoned in swottish loneliness. Then Dovidl enters his home, a refugee violinist from Warsaw. 'I am genius,' says Dovidl. 'You have information. Together we make good team.' His arrival brings merriment and love, mischief and menace. Blood-brothers, they roam the ruined city, finding tragedy and triumph, sex and crime. It is the time of their lives, their finest hour. Then Dovidl disappears, on the afternoon of his international debut. Martin is broken-hearted, his father near-bankrupted, the police dumbfounded. Where has he gone? How can a genius escape his date with destiny? How could he betray a brother? Martin is condemned to forty years of humdrum half-life until, one wintry night, an unexpected musical clue sets him on the trail to an astonishing act of self-discovery, and renewal.