Conspiracy (a work in progress) is the story of two sisters, whose relationship was shaped by their love of music and the arts, then abruptly transformed by illness and death. In this personal narrative that spans forty years, the author explores the nature of blood relations and belonging, love and loss, music, art, and the tricks of memory and perception. The story is set in New York City. Der Rosenkavalier, the opera that awakened their passion for music and sealed their bond, appears throughout.
Part One describes their first encounters with the city and the opera Der Rosenkavalier. Diana was an exuberant, vivacious twenty-one-year-old, and the author an awe-struck thirteen-year-old, delighted to be led wherever Diana chose.
Part Two explores their weekend return, which occurred when a year-long plan to go to Salzburg to hear Der Rosenkavalier was derailed by a recurrence of Diana’s cancer. Diana embraces New York as an exuberant tourist, as if she’s in robust health and a long future awaits her. Their activities include a Saturday matinee performance of Der Rosenkavalier with Kathleen Battle at Lincoln Centre where Diana’s episode of medical crisis seems to catch both sisters unaware, as if illness were a complete stranger. Diana refuses to relinquish her role of older sister in perfect health and the author is torn between a child-like belief in her sister’s invincibility and her barely conscious awareness that her sister’s time is limited. On Sunday, despite failing health, Diana persuades the author to take her to the Metropolitan Museum to revisit a favourite painting. Twenty days after they return home, Diana dies.
In Part Three, the author returns to New York fourteen years later to retrace their steps. The visit becomes a quest to understand the tricks of love, memory and perception which leads to the discovery that love, when mediated through the arts can transform matter, bend time and transcend death.