Blue Nude by Elizabeth Rosner

Born in the shadow of post-war Germany, Danzig is a once prominent painter who now teaches at an art institute in San Francisco. But while Danzig shares wisdom and technique with students, his own canvasses remain empty, for reasons he doesn’t understand. One day, he and his class begin sketching a new model, a young woman named Merav, the Israeli-born granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor and herself a former art student. Danzig is immediately taken with her exceptional beauty, sensing that she may be the muse he has been missing. Challenged by Danzig’s German accent, Merav must decide how to overcome her fears. Before they can create anything new together, both artist and model are forced to examine the history that they carry.

Blue Nude recounts the events that bring Danzig and Merav together, including their disparate upbringings, their respective creative awakenings, and their similarly painful, often catastrophic, love lives. Using words to paint the landscapes of body and soul, Rosner conveys the art of survival, the complexity of history, the form of exile, the shape of desire, and the color of intimacy. Blue Nude is the narrative equivalent of a masterpiece of fine art.

Visit Elizabeth Rosner’s website for more.

Below you can find the Twitter discussion of Blue Nude with author Elizabeth Rosner that took place January 12, 2011. Make sure to follow Jewish Book Council (@jewishbook) for more Twitter Book Club events! 

elesscom: Get ready for twitter discussion w th fabulous @elizabethrosner -- author of Blue Nude @JewishBook #JBCbooks

elizabethrosner: @jewishbooks and #JBCbooks. Ready for our twitter discussion!

erikadreifus: Juggling projects at work today (even thru lunch) but will drop in & out during @JewishBook chat. (Flwrs, please be forewarned!)#JBCBooks

JewishBook: @elizabethrosner Great! We're ready, too. We'll give it just another minute and then get started #JBCbooks

JewishBook: All right, let's get started #JBCbooks

elizabethrosner: @JewishBook Very happy to be here! (actually I'm in San Miguel de Allende right now). #JBCbooks

JewishBook: Glad everyone could make it to JBC Twitter Book Club #7. Today we're lucky to have @elizabethrosner w/ us to discuss Blue Nude!#JBCbooks

nycbook: The title, Blue Nude, was that a reference to Matisse and Picasso, or related to the story itself?or both? #JBCbooks

erikadreifus: @elizabethrosner @JewishBook San Miguel de Allende! You're making us jealous! #JBCbooks

elizabethrosner: @nycbook All of the above, actually. So many artists have created Blue Nude(s). Even now... #JBCbooks

elizabethrosner: @erikadreifus @JewishBook . SMA is a source of much research for Blue Nude. Lots of artists and models here. #JBCbooks

BookGal102: I thought that Margot's character was great. Was she based on any one thing you read or someone you were connected to in any way?#JBCBooks

elesscom: @elizabethrosner Plus there's blue as in "depressed," which in some ways describes the characters before they meet, no?#JBCbooks

elizabethrosner: @nycbook Are you a painter? #JBCbooks

nycbook: @elizabethrosner no, but i studied some art history in college#JBCbooks

elizabethrosner: @BookGal102 Merav was inspired by an actual artist's model based in Oakland who is quite remarkable. Merav is "my own..."#JBCbooks

erikadreifus: @elesscom @elizabethrosner Good pt--hadn't thought of the "depressed" connection. #JBCBooks

elizabethrosner: @elesscom Many "blue" connections. Yes! #JBCbooks

erikadreifus: @BookGal102 @elizabethrosner Good question, but...Merav? Am I just not remembering a Margot character? #JBCBooks

nycbook: The tone of the book almost feels painted in blues...were you conscious of that in writing? @elizabethrosner #JBCbooks

BookGal102: Can you talk about Margot, as well? #JBCBooks

erikadreifus: @BookGal102 @elizabethrosner I take that back! Margot--Danzig's sister. Got it! #JBCBooks

elizabethrosner: @nycbook Love that interpretation! Maybe I was semi-conscious...#JBCbooks.

elesscom: @elizabethrosner can u tell us if you have had any interesting feedback from artists, survivors, models, etc. #JBCbooks

elizabethrosner: @BookGal102 Did you get the Margot info. you wanted? Sorry about my mixup! #JBCbooks

elizabethrosner: @BookGal102 Some German stories I heard always haunted me, and Margot is rooted in those very deeply. #JBCbooks

BookGal102: No problem! And yes. I found her character incredibly interesting... very complex... and I appreciate that you ... #JBCBooks

erikadreifus: @elizabethrosner Now I'm wondering: deliberate to have Margot & Merav, two characters so similarly named and impt to Danzig?#JBCBooks

elizabethrosner: @elesscom Many many artists have told me they felt I really "got" the inside experience of drawing/painting/sculpting. #JBCbooks

BookGal102: ...left only a taste of her in the book... left much to the imagination... a lot to think about #jbcbooks

elizabethrosner: @elesscom Also: many people who work as models tell me it is very "accurate" for them. #JBCbooks

JewishBook: @elizabethrosner do you have much experience as an artist, outside of writing? #JBCbooks

elizabethrosner: @erikadreifus Yes, quite deliberate. Though my characters often "name themselves" ! #JBCbooks

elizabethrosner: @JewishBook Have spent time in both roles over the years. Long ago and recently doing "research." Love to paint! #jbcbooks

elesscom: It is as if Margot is just a ghostly memory, one of many that haunt & inspire Danzig #jbcbooks

elizabethrosner: @JewishBook I wrote a NYT Lives page about being a model while at Stanford. "Full Exposure." #jbcbooks

elizabethrosner: @elesscom Lovely way of putting this. Thank you. #jbcbooks

BookGal102: Rebirth and cathartic images were frequent (e.g., "begin again", water, blue, painting as therapy, nakedness) how...#JBCBooks

JewishBook: @elizabethrosner this book originally came out in 2006...has the whole publication experience been any different this time around?#JBCbooks

BookGal102: ...accurately do you think the book reflects your own life philosophies and the possibility for redemption? #JBCBooks

JewishBook: @elizabethrosner what other sorts of research/"research" did writing the novel involve? #JBCbooks

elizabethrosner: @JewishBook Different in many ways. Paperbacks have much longer "shelf-life" so that's great. I love new cover. Resurrection!#jbcbooks

elizabethrosner: @BookGal102 Very close to my heart, these themes. My own belief in the power of art and hope and transformation. #JBcbooks

elizabethrosner: @JewishBook Interviews with artists and models. Lots of reading artbooks. Museums,galleries,studios. #jbcbooks

elizabethrosner: @JewishBook Originally: work with Acts of Reconciliation. GermanJewish psychodrama workshop. #jbcbooks

elizabethrosner: @JewishBook ALSO: a rebirth of faith in books to have a second chance, like my second chance after breast cancer. #jbcbooks

elesscom: Care to comment on a certain politician's use of terms with specific historical meaning? Understand if you'd rather pass! #JBCbooks

elizabethrosner: @elesscom Can you be a bit more specific? I'll answer if I can.#jbcbooks

BookGal102: Merav asks questions about national identity and how responsible individuals are for national transgressions...#JBCBooks

BookGal102: Which do you feel is stronger/more destructive national guilt or personal guilt? #JBCBooks

nycbook: @elizabethrosner Danzig's “begin again” you believe ppl/life can begin again? and starting where you left or starting over?#JBCbooks

elizabethrosner: @BookGal102 Fascinating question! I think both are extremely powerful and therefore can do much harm. Including here in US.#jbcbooks

elizabethrosner: @BookGal102 Without personal responsibility there can be no hope, but national guilt can be overwhelming..#jbcbooks

erikadreifus: @elizabethrosner Was curious. Just Googled. Is AoR now ? #JBCBooks

elizabethrosner: @nycbook Not easy to "begin again" in art or in life. But often necessary at deepest levels... #jbcbooks

erikadreifus: @BookGal102 I agree. That is a fascinating question. #JBCBooks

elizabethrosner: @erikadreifus Yes! That's it. Thanks. #jbcbooks

elesscom: Ms Palin used "blood libel" to describe criticism of her alleged role in ramping up divisive, violent rhetoric; re: AZ tragedy #JBCbooks

elizabethrosner: @nycbook Not sure how to define the "where" part of Begin Again. Sometimes we don't get to choose the where...? #jbcbooks

elizabethrosner: @elesscom Sadly, Ms P uses English so poorly in every way that I don't know where to begin my critique... Ugh. Ugh. #jbcbooks

JewishBook: @elesscom is your ? in relation to the book? #JBCbooks

elizabethrosner: @elesscom I find her extremely dangerous, to say the least, even when she doesn't say a word. #jbcbooks

BookGal102: @elizabethrosner It's an incredibly interesting position for an individual to be well as society. Thanks for addressing it#JBCBooks

nycbook: @elizabethrosner in a lot of ways, merav seems to feel less vulnerable when she's naked....#jbcbooks

elizabethrosner: @BookGal102 Such an important topic, in my view. Collective responsibility for past, present, future. #jbcbooks

elizabethrosner: @nycbook Insightful! Says a great deal about her sense of self inside/outside. #jbcbooks

elizabethrosner: @nycbook My Lives piece subtitle: What it's like to be the only naked person in the room. #jbcbooks

nycbook: @elizabethrosner i love that! #jbcbooks

elizabethrosner: @nycbook Thanks. Archived NYTimes, I hope. Back in May 2006 when Blue Nude came out in hardcover. #jbcbooks

JewishBook: RT @elesscom @JewishBook I think it is b/c of themes of guilt, blame, Holocaust, etc, which are prominent in BN. #JBCbooks

JewishBook: RT @elesscom As reader, I'm curious abt ER's view #JBCBooks

elizabethrosner: @JewishBook @elesscom I understand completely. So much is connective... #jbcbooks

JewishBook: @elesscom definitely! think it's relevant to themes #JBCBooks

BookGal102: You explore a number of different themes--which was the most compelling to you personally? #JBCBooks

elizabethrosner: @JewishBook @elesscom Also, the tendency to blame the "other" and never look at oneself for possible source of fear, hatred...#jbcbooks

elizabethrosner: @BookGal102 Equal parts art/inspiration/muse and German-Jewish reconciliation. Redemption,healing through art. My life story!#jbcbooks

elizabethrosner: @BookGal102 ALSO: it's my anti-war novel. To promote a path toward peace, across many kinds of great divides. #jbcbooks

BookGal102: The book really did linger for really tied each theme together well...and inspiring book in so many ways #JBCBooks

BookGal102: Can't argue with that! On the same page. #JBCBooks

erikadreifus: @elizabethrosner Although I'd argue that Merav/Danzig/Margot tend to look at/blame themselves more than most! #JBCBooks

elizabethrosner: @BookGal102 Thank you Rachel! Sincerely. #jbcbooks

nycbook: @georgia_reece thanks! RT "Full Exposure" - so great! #JBCbooks

elizabethrosner: @erikadreifus I like to think they are "modeling" different ways of examining themselves..? #jbcbooks

elizabethrosner: @nycbook @georgia_reece Nice work, Georgia! #jbcbooks

JewishBook: Sorry to put an end to such a fascinating discussion, but let's wrap up #JBCbooks

elizabethrosner: @JewishBook Thank you to everyone who participated. And also to those who were listening... #jbcbooks

elizabethrosner: @JewishBook Happy to continue the conversation anytime!#jbcbooks

erikadreifus: @JewishBook @Elizabeth Rosner Thank you for the chat. And, Elizabeth, enjoy your time in SMA! #JBCBooks

JewishBook: @elizabethrosner Thank you for joining us! And everyone else-- thanks for reading/participating/watching/asking such thoughtful ?s#JBCbooks

elizabethrosner: @erikadreifus @JewishBook Sending abrazos from the heart of Mexico... #jbcbooks

nycbook: @elizabethrosner @jewishbook thanks, this was great! #jbcbooks