Elizabeth Rosner, the daughter of Holocaust survivors, has written a novel of amazing tension and balance about a German painter and the young Israeli who models for him meet in California, thousands of miles and many decades from the events in western Europe that have shaped and scarred them. Danzig is an artist and teacher born just after the war whose parents were not “good Germans”; Merav, younger, grew up on a kibbutz, served in the Israeli army, and has lost a lover to a suicide bomber. The very sound of Danzig’s accent creates a barrier between them, and that is typical of the nature of the conflict Rosner has created here; the walls that trap and divide these two gifted and burdened people are real, but invisible and silent, made of the worlds of memory, personal and historical, each of them carries within. Rosner develops these characters layer upon layer as they consider trusting each other even slightly, showing what the past has to do with it and what art has to do with it, in writing of a lush, and concentrated beauty. That something so quiet should be so gripping requires dazzling skill, which Rosner displays in abundance. A subtle and moving achievement.
Twitter Book Club
Read a transcript for the Twitter Book Club for Blue Nude.
Beth Gutcheon is the author of several books of non-fiction and of seven novels; the most recent is Leeway Cottage.