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Summary

George Gershwin thinks he could do better, better than Broadway. 

Ira Gershwin disagrees, why get funny ideas about writing po-faced piano concertos that no one hears, when you’re already getting much respect and much money (and much female attention) from writing hit shows? But what George wants George gets, and soon the brothers are travelling to Europe to meet French maestro Maurice Ravel - you know, a real composer. 

Despite dreading this American invasion on his artistic privacy, the haughty Ravel warms to George, the two men share musical ideas and beaucoup du vin. It all turns sour when George returns to New York, unintentionally carrying in his luggage Ravel’s most treasured possession: a pair of slippers that belonged to Ravel’s musical forefather, the French national hero - Claude Debussy. 

Now, Debussy’s slippers may reek, they may look slightly ridiculous, but their inspirational power is undeniable. Once George feels their effect, he’s loath to return them, and sets about stalling an increasingly irate Ravel. Things come to a head when Ravel unexpectedly returns Gershwin’s visit.

©2020 Steve Exeter (P)2021 Steve Exeter

What listeners say about Debussy's Slippers

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Overall, 3 stars

Overall, I am aware this book was not for me. I can see what the author was trying to do and I can feel the time and energy they put into the book. I would recommend this audio book as a slow burner for those looking to relax while they perhaps take on another activity. I would describe it as the ‘classic FM’ of the radio.

Things I enjoyed:

Overall, I liked the way the characters within the story developed. The story began to draw me in around chapter 8 as the relationships between them started to pick up a little pace and appeared to have more purpose. The pull between Gershwin and Ravel also draws you in a little more at this point.

I could clearly feel what the writer was trying to do and the style in which he was trying to write. This came across in the historical setting and language of the characters.

Things that were not for me:

I felt the book had a very specific audience when it came to the musical references in the story. It relied upon you being familiar with the musicians and the meticulous detail it did provide didn’t always help to clarify but, in fact, complicated the storyline.

When describing this book to friends I found myself saying ‘it felt a little more like someone reading a play script and the stage directions than a story’. The speaker did a very good job of trying to differentiate between the characters but this was a challenging job and it took a little while for me to adjust (revisiting chapters 1 and 2). I think this was more to do with the writing style than the audio itself.

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Profile Image for Deedra
  • Deedra
  • 04-08-22

Debussy's Slippers

This started out strong,then it bacame slow and boring. The story was an interesting idea,I just found it so drawn out and just boring. Jack Wynters was a fine narrator. was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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  • Norma Miles
  • 21-04-21

"Twenty hot numbers and an overture."

Although Gershwin and his brother, Ira, had achieved popular fame with their musical scores, George wanted .more: to be taken seriously by the musical world. He trave!s to Paris, meets the irascible Ravel and, briefly, tours with him before returning to New York and, later, L.A. This delightfully amusing book tells the fanciful story of the relationship of the two men and those people surrounding tbsm, and of a smelly old pair of slippers which had once belonged to Debussy.

Beautifully written and with a song and dance intro, this is such a fun book of futility. It is superbly read by Jack Winters, who clearly delineates the characters speaking in the novel overflowing with conversation, bringing the characters and their personality foibles alive to the reader. He even
is mostly able to successfully sing an occasional stanza in character. A fine performance interspersed with snippets of between chapter piano music, predominantly from Rapsody in Blue..

I loved this book, witty and wicked and funny and sad, with a touch of wistful fantasy. My deep thanks to the rights holder who has made this delicious audio freely available to download on Audiobooks Unleashed, upon request. Recommended to all who have ever enjoyed the show music of the Gershwins, or Bolero by Ravel. Or anyone who is just looking for a different take on obsessive personalities.Wonderful

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  • mike s.
  • 08-04-21

Fantastic Book!

Outstanding story by a very talented writer. Great story, even with some esoteric and fantasy elements – it all works beautifully, wonderfully. I don’t often gush at books in any genre. I’m gushing.
Stupendously talented voice talent. Bravo.

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Profile Image for Ellen  Oceanside
  • Ellen Oceanside
  • 14-03-21

Well Done

An era of history that comes alive with the likes of Gershwin, Porky Bess, Kitty Carlisle to Jazz. A memorable tale, with excellent narration to capture one completely. To a time when the sounds we heard was of this music, well done. Given audio for my voluntary review