In A. Manette Ansay's "Midnight Champagne" (1999), a funny, tender novel about a Midwestern wedding, the music is beer hall polka, raucous and sentimental. (Ansay grew up in Wisconsin, and she knows the Midwestern terrain.)
In her new novel, about marriages that fall apart and friendships engulfed by longing, the music is the lieder of Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms.
Ansay is an adventurous writer whose work evades easy categorization. But if "Midnight Champagne" is primarily a comedy, brimful with character and incident, "Good Things I Wish You" is something else: darker and quiet, a meditation on art and love in the European mode.