From Publishers Weekly
Poet and novelist Rosner (The Speed of Light) has written an elegiac story of an emotionally and creatively starved artist and his muse. Danzig is 58, a German painter whose once promising career has stagnated into teaching life drawing classes at San Francisco's Art Institute. Then Merav appears, a lovely Israeli woman, also an artist, who models in his classroom. Merav struggles with instinctual distrust of Danzig: "The poses she took in the first session were all in the shape of fear: a woman turning away from something threatening; a body in flight; the curled-up shape of self-defense, protecting the heart, the belly." When Danzig asks Merav if she will model for him privately, she's reluctant, but their relationship evolves. The present diverges to the past, and Rosner develops her protagonists as though they are pieces of art, slowly becoming unveiled. Although their backgrounds are divergent--Danzig lived in fear of his father while Merav grew up in the safety of a kibbutz without one--their interior lives are similar. Rosner's multilayered composition is rendered in beautiful, spare prose and will resonate long after the last page.
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The Holocaust and its aftermath continue to influence Rosner's work, as she follows her lyrical debut, Speed of Light
(2001), with a haunting portrait of individuals tormented by their past. Told from the point of view of three protagonists--siblings Danzig and Margot, children of a Nazi official, and Merav, an Israeli soldier and granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor--Rosner shifts from contemporary San Francisco to postwar Germany as she tantalizingly reveals each character's psychic wounds. Their physical worlds collide when Merav models for Danzig's art students. Once an acclaimed artist, Danzig hasn't produced a painting in years, his creativity unfulfilled as he relives the childhood horror of his sister's suicide. Yet there's something about Merav's ephemeral beauty and transcendental reticence that touches his soul, though Merav is reluctant to open herself to Danzig's tortured anxiety. In a restrained yet elegiacal voice, Rosner explores the power of memory and the providence of art to amplify and alleviate human suffering. Carol HaggasCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved