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The White Rose Paperback – Bargain Price, January 18, 2006

3.7 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Paperback, Bargain Price, January 18, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Korelitz, known for her intelligent thrillers (The Sabbathday River, etc.), strikes off in a new direction with this mordant story of aging, love and self-discovery, a reimagining of the Strauss opera Der Rosenkavalier set in upper-class Jewish New York City. Marian Kahn, gracefully aging at 48, is a respected history professor at Columbia, author of a bestselling book of popular history and solidly ensconced in a satisfactory if not brilliant marriage when suddenly she's swept away by the wild but dangerous joy of an affair with the son of her oldest friend. Twenty-six-year-old Oliver, owner of a flower shop called the White Rose, is truly in love, but when he meets graduate student and heiress Sophie Klein, the fiancée of Marian's pompous cousin, Barton Ochstein, he's blindsided and must question his still strong love for Marian. Sophie is swept away, too, by the knowledge that she may want something more out of life than the academic satisfaction she derives from the study of her own White Rose, a group of German dissidents who agitated against the Nazis. The belief that love always involves sacrifice and is worth the sacrifice it demands drives this warm, worldly novel. Even when their own comfort is at stake, Korelitz's characters succumb to generous impulses, making this a satisfying, emotionally rich read.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From The New Yorker

This novel transfers the plot of "Der Rosenkavalier" from Vienna to pre-millennial Manhattan. The Marschallin of the opera has become a professor at Columbia, married and nearing fifty, who is also the author of a best-selling book about an eighteenth-century courtesan. The Marschallin's lover, Octavian, is, in this version, a young florist. The precipitating event is her social-climbing cousin's announcement of his engagement to a graduate student in her department who is from an élite New York family. Things get more complicated when the florist, suitably armed with roses, falls for the same girl. The series of coincidental meetings and near-misses that ensues strains credulity more on the page than it does when sung. Still, Korelitz is alert both to New York's social geometry and to the melancholy that underlies the glittering surface of her model.
Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 394 pages
  • Publisher: Miramax (January 18, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401359868
  • ASIN: B003YDXDQ8
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,876,733 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I truly enjoyed reading The White Rose. The pace of the book was just perfect: lots of background, in-depth character analysis, but enough action to keep me engrossed in the plot. Marian is quite a believable person; it was easy to identify with her struggles. I loved Oliver, and cheered him on, especially later in the book (can't say what he does, exactly, or it will give away the surprise) when the fate of the woman he loves rests squarely on his ability to foil a plan. The plot is intricate, and the ending is surprising. I highly recommend The White Rose.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a breezy, fun read but it also makes you think. There are elements of social comedy and farce, as well as delicious accounts of sex. It's a very hopeful book that cheers for its middle-aged heroine without bashing men. It's a book where (almost) all the characters grow from and are strengthened by the ordeals they endure. There is history here, and scholarship, and a social conscious, but mostly it's just a fun romp.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
THE WHITE ROSE is everything a novel should be. This is a beautifully written book, and author Jean Hanff Korelitz is to be congratulated.

The story is rich and complex. There are a variety of plots and subplots, each of which is compelling enough to be the center of its own novel.

The story gets off to a slow start, which serves neither the author nor her readers well. Yet once one immerses oneself in these characters, THE WHITE ROSE is touching and gripping.

There are a multitude of love affairs described, with excellent descriptions of passion.

There are different versions of the story of the White Rose, including the real one about a small group of upper class Germans who resisted the Nazis.

There are details about the highest levels of academia and scholarship, and about the lifestyles of those New Yorkers who, quietly and without ostentation, are very, very rich.

THE WHITE ROSE is filled with amazing insights, so incisive and so clear that these literally are breathtaking.

The only quibbles go to the author's descriptions of cooking. In one scene, on a day she describes as warm, a character puts on a tweed jacket and necktie to reduce a sauce and boil some pasta. Please! Who wears wool to labor over a hot stove? In another scene, a different character cooks a brisket in less than an hour. It takes more than an hour simply to prep a brisket, and the cooking needs four to six hours. Didn't anyone associated with the manuscript--author, agent, editor--have a clue?

The other issue is the author's sense of direction. The route she suggests using between Manhattan and East Hampton is preposterous. Once again, this weird discrepancy stops the lovely flow of her story.
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Format: Hardcover
I bought this book after reading Vogue's review of it. I wish I would've realized the book's author was a regular contributor; it would've given me a better perspective of the review.

I was quite disappointed & often aggravated while reading this book. Each sentence had multiple parenthetical phrases, making reading choppy and hard to follow. I didn't like any of the minor characters except Caroline, and didn't like the direction the plot took at all. I was intrigued by the main affair, but it got little attention in the book.
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Format: Hardcover
I very much enjoyed reading "The Sabbathday River" by this author a few years back, so I grabbed this book when I saw it in the store. "The White Rose" is very different from her last novel, but just as good if not better. This is a multilayered story that keeps the reader digging for more--just when you think you have it figured out, the plot takes a different direction. The characters are well-drawn and believable--some likeable, some not. The descriptions of New York City society are good and the historical details a nice addition. I'll be thinking about this book for awhile.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Don't ever name your main character Marian... That's my first bit of advice after reading this book. This is a very good writer and I've loved her other novels, but the characters in this one were neither likeable enough to really care about nor the kind you love to hate. And the author seems to worried about age differences between lovers. I'd buy it again, and I enjoyed it, but it had some flaws.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a beautiful novel. As a novelist myself, I'm usually pretty critical.

Not this time. Here I sit, having just finished, the tears streaming down my

face. Yes, yes, yes. So good. Thank you.

Josephine ([...]
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A pleasant read...but rather 'shallow' - I prefer a little more "meat on the bone". Characters were not "real people" for me. Yet, a good "sit in a beach chair book"
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