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Short Takes: April 2010 


He Walked Through Walls: A Twentieth-Century Tale of Survival
Myriam Miedzian
Lantern, 2009, $20

Told in the Yiddish-accented voice of her father, Miedzian’s novelistic work of nonfiction recounts her childhood escape from the Nazis, presenting a moving vision of a family strategizing to survive. The combination of reason, intuition, and boldness that enables these refugees to cross checkpoints and borders compels our admiration, while the unimaginable camps, of which they learn only afterward, compel our sorrow. Myriam Miedzian will be the Resnick Lecturer at SUNY New Paltz on 4/13 at 7:30pm in Lecture Center 102.

A Fortunate Age
Joanna Smith Rakoff
Simon & Schuster, 2010, $19.99

New in paperback, this acclaimed debut novel pays homage to Mary McCarthy’s The Group with its intertwined portraits of six recent Oberlin graduates seeking their fortunes in dot-com New York. Rakoff’s women are varied and likeable, lurching into adulthood as the high-flying ‘90s give way to millennial angst. Rakoff will appear at the Empire State Book Fair in Albany, on 4/10.

Available Light: Recollections and Reflections of a Son
Reamy Jansen
Hamilton Stone Editions, 2010, $15.95

When SUNY Rockland and Fordham professor Jansen was young, he made a box to store family photos, adding a sprinkling of red and blue glitter over “images that had already started to curl and roll up like rhododendron leaves in winter.” This graceful suite of personal essays should prove a more durable keepsake, with breathtaking phrases that glint and surprise.

Postmortem
Laurel Saville
Rising Star, 2009, $16.95

The cover image of a female tightrope walker, no net, could not be more apt for this riveting memoir. Saville’s mother, glamorous 1950s model and LA party girl Anne Ford, stumbled and fell, eventually becoming a street alcoholic and murder victim. Her daughter’s surefooted, clear-sighted prose is a miracle of compassion. Reading at Book House, Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, 5/2 at 2pm.

The Hour Between
Sebastian Stuart
Alyson Books, 2009, $14.95

Expelled from a posh Manhattan prep school in 1967, Arthur McDougal lands at an eccentric Connecticut boarding school where he meets the iridescent, Holly Golightlyesque Katrina Felt and yearns for a hunky local. Hudson Valley part-timer Stuart has a light touch with deep chords in this effervescent, affecting, and generous coming-of-age/coming-out story.

The Lee Strasberg Notes
edited by Lola Cohen
Routledge, 2010, $24.95

Legendary Method acting teacher Lee Strasberg shaped a whole generation of American actors, from James Dean to DeNiro. Woodstocker Cohen, a Strasberg student and instructor for 23 years, has lovingly curated hundreds of hours of archival materials into a fascinating and pithy book, preserving the master’s insightful critiques, exercises, and nonpareil voice. This is catnip for actors.
Golden Notebok booksigning Sunday, April 25 at 3pm, upstairs at Joshua's in Woodstock.


click to enlarge A Fortunate Age / Joanna Smith Rakoff / Simon & Schuster, 2010, $19.99
  • A Fortunate Age / Joanna Smith Rakoff / Simon & Schuster, 2010, $19.99

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