Maestro, a beautifully crafted novel written by the author Peter Goldsworthy, deals with the exploration of numerous aspects including the main contention of whose reality. It presents the unrealistic views or false realities that we humans can perceive wrongly of ourselves and others. As this is proven in the novel, the main protagonist Paul Crabbe has many artificial views of what he perceives himself to be and the type of person Edward Keller (Maestro) is.
However, our realities can ultimately change for the better once we have the realisation of what is actually occurring.In the beginning of the novel we can clearly see that Paul has no respect for Keller what so ever. His first impressions of him were “Keller’s red face also glistened with a fine varnish of sweat – but the linen suit still seemed crisp and freshly laundered,” this passage tells the reader of Paul’s quick evaluation and examination of Keller showing his “irredeemably smug” attitude. Even before speaking to Keller, he describes him as “… a boozer’s incandescent glow. The pitted, sun-coursed skin a cheap ruined leather.
.. this shows a great deal of arrogance on Paul’s behalf as he is arrogant to the fact that despite Keller’s look he is a top musician.
However, as cocky and smug Paul is, he develops a sense of respect for him when he learns more about who he truly is. Keller had fled from his original country of Vienna, where he was exceptionally well known as a musician. By thinking this he thought he was invincible “becoming so visible so that nothing can touch him”. At the time of the war, it was promised that his wife and child would not be harmed if he played for the Nazis.Unfortunately this was not the case. After losing his family, his reality has been a constant escape, trying to run away from his past and the burden of thinking it was his fault for the death of the people during the holocaust. We see Keller as just an arrogant person but he was never like this until the remorse and regret of his past transformed him into an entirely different person. Keller’s frequent reminders of Vienna are taken from clippings from newspapers his “textbooks”.
Keller only continues to see the bad and human cruelty there is and that then becomes his only perception of the world. The thousands of stories of human foolishness and greed and cruelty that he had tried to patch together into some kind of understanding of his fellow beings” depicts Keller’s understanding. When Paul first began his lessons with Keller his impressions of him were quick to judge and misleading.
As Paul finally matures his attitudes towards Keller become more affectionate, understanding and there is a warmer light to it. As Paul quotes “I slipped my arm beneath his head and kissed him” symbolizes Paul’s last realisation of his connection with Maestro in death.From the time Paul and Keller had spent together he had never realised just how much Keller tried to help him and that was all taken for granted. He states his teaching methods as “irritating – and also contradictory. ” Only after Keller dies Paul begins to understand what Keller offered him.
Paul didn’t treasure the precious time they had, as the saying goes you never realise what you got until it’s gone. “Mourning for a great man, yes, but also mourning for myself – for times and possibilities that will never come again. This passage shows the great movement of Paul’s personality from being selfish, arrogant and ignorant to a much more wiser young man that has learnt a great deal of wisdom growing out of his shell of delusional reality.
In conclusion Maestro has shown the main themes of false and constructed realities. Paul may have been living in his own delusional reality but the experiences he learnt changed his perception of the himself for what he truly is. The novel sets the scene of the huge improvement of an egotistic teenager to a much wiser man.