Spanning seventy years and several continents—from a refugee’s shattered dreams in 1938 Berlin, to a discontented American couple in the 1950s, to a young woman’s life in modern-day Jerusalem—this epic, enthralling novel tells the braided love story of three unforgettable characters. In 1946, Walter Westhaus, a German Jew who spent the war years at Tagore’s ashram in India, arrives at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City, where he meets Sol Kerem, a promising rabbinical student. A brilliant nonbeliever, Walter is the perfect foil for Sol’s spiritual questions—and their extraordinary connection is too wonderful not to share with Sol’s free-spirited fiancée Rosalie. Soon Walter and Rosalie are exchanging notes, sketches, and secrets, and begin a transcendent love affair in his attic room, a temple of dusty tomes and whispered poetry. Months later they shatter their impossible bond, retreating to opposite sides of the country—Walter to pursue an academic career in Berkeley and Rosalie and Sol to lead a congregation in suburban New York. A chance meeting years later reconnects Walter, Sol, and Rosalie—catching three hearts and minds in a complex web of desire, heartbreak, and redemption. With extraordinary empathy and virtuosic skill, The Beautiful Possible considers the hidden boundaries of marriage and faith, and the mysterious ways we negotiate our desires.
But immediately, cracks begin to appear in this smooth facade: Simon hasn’t been sleeping through the night, Camille can’t decide what to do with her life, and Phoebe is a little too cagey about her new boyfriend. Roma knows her children are hiding things. What she doesn’t know, what none of them know, is that Harry is suddenly haunted by the long-buried secret that drove him, decades ago, to relocate his young family to the California desert. As the ceremony nears, the family members are forced to confront the falsehoods upon which their lives are built.
Set over the course of a single weekend, and deftly alternating between the five Tabors, this provocative, gorgeously rendered novel, reckons with the nature of the stories we tell ourselves and our family and the price we pay for second chances.
Along with luggage and tickets, we always travel with that which it is impossible to leave behind: ourselves, our spirits, our souls. By definition the best travel writing carries us on a soul-journey, the sort of trip that dramatizes how the heart learns about its place in the world.
In A Trance After Breakfast, poetic wanderer and novelist (To Catch the Lightning) Alan Cheuse has crafted a collection that masterfully exceeds such standards. He lures the reader around the world, from Bali and New Zealand to Mexico and back home again to his native New Jersey, making the foreign familiar and the familiar slightly foreign.
Collected from such celebrated publications as Gourmet, the Antioch Review, and the San Diego Reader, the dispatches in A Trance After Breakfast will enchant, captivate, and transport readers.
This beautiful, illuminating tale of hope and courage is based on interviews that were conducted with Holocaust survivor and Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov—an unforgettable love story in the midst of atrocity.
“The Tattooist of Auschwitz is an extraordinary document, a story about the extremes of human behavior existing side by side: calculated brutality alongside impulsive and selfless acts of love. I find it hard to imagine anyone who would not be drawn in, confronted and moved. I would recommend it unreservedly to anyone, whether they’d read a hundred Holocaust stories or none.”—Graeme Simsion, internationally-bestselling author of The Rosie Project
In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.
Imprisoned for over two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism—but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.
One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.
A vivid, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful re-creation of Lale Sokolov's experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a testament to the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions.
" Until someone tells you, you never know in whose dreams you appear..."
—from the prologue
Beginning in the late 1890s, Edward Sheriff Curtis embarked on an overwhelming odyssey to document and photograph the fading way of life of the American Indian. In To Catch the Lightning, Alan Cheuse creates a remarkable portrait of the man who would become a legend. Curtis turned his lens on a landscape of unparalleled beauty and tradition, and in so doing, became the architect of the finest lasting visual record of a culture close to extinction.
Here is a haunting tale of the struggle between ambition and duty and a testament to the power of the sacrifices we make for the dreams that compel us.
"Digs deep into the mystery and sacrifice and selfishness of creative vision."
"A worthy effort...illuminating unknown corners of a great photographer's life."