Jane Belkin recommends Shelia Isenberg’s biography of Muriel Gardiner, and invites discussion in the blog. The title of the book is “Muriel’s War: An American Heiress in Nazi Resistance.” It is published by Palgrave Macmillan, 2010. Here is the publisher’s description:
“An American heiress turned resistance hero, Muriel Gardiner was an electrifying woman who impressed everyone she met with her beauty, intelligence, and powerful personality. Her adventurous life led her from Chicago’s high society to a Viennese medical school, from Sigmund Freud’s inner circle to the Austrian underground. Over the years, she saved countless Jews and anti-fascists, providing shelter and documents ensuring their escape. This remarkable woman’s life as a legend of the Austrian Resistance was captured in the movie Julia with Vanessa Redgrave and remains an inspiration to all those who believe that one individual can change the world. Gardiner’s astonishing story is told here for the first time in all its variety and unanticipated twists and turns.”
Murray Goldstone recommends “By Nightfall,” Farrar Straus Giroux, 2010, by Michael Cunningham, who is best know for his novel, “The Hours.”
Cunningham explores the homosexuality of everyday life in an astute and profound manner. His perceptivity is undoubtedly aided by his relationship with Ken Corbett whom many of us know through his keen writings in various analytic journals, and whom he acknowledges in the book.
From the Booklist review: “A bittersweet paean to human creativity and its particularly showy flourishing in hothouse Manhattan, Cunningham entwines eroticism with aesthetics to orchestrate a resonant crisis of the soul, drawing inspiration from Henry James and Thomas Mann as well as meditative painter Agnes Martin and provocateur artist Damien Hirst. The result is an exquisite, slyly witty, warmly philosophical, and urbanely eviscerating tale of the mysteries of beauty and desire, art and delusion, age and love.
Mary Ellen Kollar recommends “A Curable Romantic,” by Joseph Skibell. Algonquin Books, 2010.
In Vienna, young Dr. Jakob Sammelsohn, newly arrived from his rural home in the east, falls in love with a beautiful young woman who happens to be a patient of Dr. Sigmund Freud. When called to consult, Dr. Sammelsohn must decide if the patient suffers from hysteria, as Freud insists, or demonic possession. In an effort to leave behind this unrequited love, the young doctor entangles himself in an impossible marriage to a devotee of Esperanto, and so on, until he ends up in the Warsaw ghetto. This book challenges the reader, linguistically and thematically, but rewards us with rare creativity and with writing that is poignant, poetic, and sometimes, hilarious.