Blue Nude

  • Review
By – October 26, 2011
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.

Discussion Questions