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The Deadwood Beetle Paperback – Bargain Price, September 3, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition.
From Library Journal
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Dressler is a skilled novelist with a flair for language and storytelling. The voice of Tristan is so authentic and honest that I can't imagine any reader emerging from this tale without a deep affection for him. As he struggles with guilt, his grown and unyielding son, the stirrings of love, and his mortality, we come to understand that a seemingly simple life is not necessarily so. His last graduate student Elida periodically bursts into his apartment, urging him to leave his boxes of dead beetles to get out more, but we already know Tristan has done and seen more than she has (though Elida, too, has her demons.)
THE DEADWOOD BEETLE is one of those books that lingers in the imagination long after its reading. You won't regret a minute spent with this author and her extraordinary novel.
At first, this book appears to be about a little Dutch boy who survived the Holocaust, and, years later spies his mother's sewing table in an antiques store. The store owner, Cora Lowenstein, translates the child's inscription, on the bottom of the table, without knowing that it was Tristan Martens, himself, who carved it there years ago. Her version in English is "When the Jews are gone, we will be the next ones", which she interprets as in the same fashion as the famous quote from Pastor Niemoeller, (1892-1984).
It seems, however, that was not the meaning of the carved words: Tristan Martens (who now had to be in his late sixties or early seventies) knew it was from his Dutch father, who was a Nazi. Tristan was not a victim of the holocaust; instead, his family was waiting for their turn in power, after the Jews were gone. Angry Dutch citizens had looted his mother's table from their Dutch home when The Netherlands was liberated. He feels guilty for most of his life. This central theme of guilt is always a background plot as Tristan begins to see Cora Lowenstein in a romantic light. The guilt theme is intertwined, somewhat, with entomology, as he deals with his last graduate student, who, in turn, is dealing with a unique form of insect out in Arizona. Tristan Martens tells the student's parents how he happened to be an immigrant (as they were) and some of the story of his life directly after the World War.
Except for flashbacks to his life in The Netherlands, the book is set mainly in winter-time New York City, with some trips to a nursing home in nearby Connecticut. I think that the author, Dressler, has done a good job in capturing the flavor of subways and travel in New York. She has written an intriguing book.
Buy this book immediately! Every moment you delay, you are cheating yourself of a fantastic experience!
The explanation of the line carved in the bottom of the sewing desk "When the Jews are gone, we will be the next ones", is so well done. Things are never as they seem.
This is a wonderful example of how each of us cannot escape our history, but we have choices: we either have to let it overcome us or come to terms with it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed this book for the historic content but found a few of the characters less than believable and thought the book just needed "something. Read morePublished on February 10, 2007 by R. Bailey
This tender but sad story touches on the loneliness of an elderly man, guilt over his family's past, his lost relationship with his son and former wife, and the expectations he... Read morePublished on December 16, 2003 by M. T. Guzman
This book was recommended to me by a friend -- an author and bookseller -- and I feel it is one of the best gifts he's ever given me. Read morePublished on April 28, 2002 by Robert Carlberg
deadwood beetle: a well written book. i really enjoyed reading the story. even though i know the ending would be realistic, i still guess i have a preconceived idea about how... Read morePublished on November 16, 2001