Posts tagged ‘Hemingway’

Book review: Men Without Women

Men Without WomenMen Without Women

As you probably know if you have been following this blog for a while, I usually do not currently read short stories. But of course, there are always exceptions to “the rule”. And with Murakami, my favorite Japanese author, exceptions are allowed. So I did request Men Without Women, his latest book, as soon as my library had it on order, and I managed to receive it on its release date. Thank you public libraries!

I knew it was a collection of short stories, but there was no way I would skip a new book by him.

Click to continue reading

8 titles for our October 2014 Book Club

Recap of our Block Book Club October 2014 meeting

 

Recap of the titles we shared [synopsis from Goodreads.com].

1. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (Harold Fry #1) by Rachel Joyce (2012)
presented by P.:

Harold Fry is convinced that he must deliver a letter to an old friend in order to save her, meeting various characters along the way and reminiscing about the events of his past and people he has known, as he tries to find peace and acceptance.Recently retired, sweet, emotionally numb Harold Fry is jolted out of his passivity by a letter from Queenie Hennessy, an old friend, who he hasn’t heard from in twenty years. She has written to say she is in hospice and wanted to say goodbye. Leaving his tense, bitter wife Maureen to her chores, Harold intends a quick walk to the corner mailbox to post his reply but instead, inspired by a chance encounter, he becomes convinced he must deliver his message in person to Queenie–who is 600 miles away–because as long as he keeps walking, Harold believes that Queenie will not die.

So without hiking boots, rain gear, map or cell phone, one of the most endearing characters in current fiction begins his unlikely pilgrimage across the English countryside. Along the way, strangers stir up memories–flashbacks, often painful, from when his marriage was filled with promise and then not, of his inadequacy as a father, and of his shortcomings as a husband.

Ironically, his wife Maureen, shocked by her husband’s sudden absence, begins to long for his presence. Is it possible for Harold and Maureen to bridge the distance between them? And will Queenie be alive to see Harold arrive at her door?

= I just listened to it and enjoyed it a lot as well (review upcoming on my blog). And the author has just published a second book, the same story seen from the perspective of Queenie!
2. Missing Person, by Patrick Modiano (1978)
presented by J. –
who read it because this French author just won the Nobel Prize of Literature – cocorico as we say there!!

Winner of the Prix Goncourt – a major literary award in France. I read it myself back then and loved it!In this strange, elegant novel, winner of France’s premier literary prize, Patrick Modiano portrays a man in pursuit of the identity he lost in the murky days of the Paris Occupation, the black hole of French memory.

For ten years Guy Roland has lived without a past. His current life and name were given to him by his recently retired boss, Hutte, who welcomed him, a onetime client, into his detective agency. Guy makes full use of Hutte’s files – directories, yearbooks, and papers of all kinds going back half a century – but his leads are few. Could he really be the person in that photograph, a young man remembered by some as a South American attaché? Or was he someone else, perhaps the disappeared scion of a prominent local family? He interviews strangers and is tantalized by half-clues until, at last, he grasps a thread that leads him through the maze of his own repressed experience.

On one level Missing Person is a detective thriller, a 1950s film noir mix of smoky cafés, illegal passports, and insubstantial figures crossing bridges in the fog. On another level, it is also a haunting meditation on the nature of the self. Modiano’s sparce, hypnotic prose, superbly translated by Daniel Weissbort, draws his readers into the intoxication of a rare literary experience.

3. The Nazi Officer’s Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust, by Edith Hahn Beer and Susan Dworkin (1999)
presented by M.
Edith Hahn was an outspoken young woman studying law in Vienna when the Gestapo forced Edith and her mother into a ghetto, issuing them papers branded with a “J.” Soon, Edith was taken away to a labor camp, and though she convinced Nazi officials to spare her mother, when she returned home, her mother had been deported. Knowing she would become a hunted woman, Edith tore the yellow star from her clothing and went underground, scavenging for food and searching each night for a safe place to sleep. Her boyfriend, Pepi, proved too terrified to help her, but a Christian friend was not: With the woman’s identity papers in hand, Edith fled to Munich. There she met Werner Vetter, a Nazi party member who fell in love with her. And despite her protests and even her eventual confession that she was Jewish, he married her and kept her identity secret.
In vivid, wrenching detail, Edith recalls a life of constant, almost paralyzing fear. She tells of German officials who casually questioned the lineage of her parents; of how, when giving birth to her daughter, she refused all painkillers, afraid that in an altered state of mind she might reveal her past; and of how, after her husband was captured by the Russians and sent to Siberia, Edith was bombed out of her house and had to hide in a closet with her daughter while drunken Russians soldiers raped women on the street.
Yet despite the risk it posed to her life, Edith Hahn created a remarkable collective record of survival: She saved every set of real and falsified papers, letters she received from her lost love, Pepi, and photographs she managed to take inside labor camps.
On exhibit at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., these hundreds of documents form the fabric of an epic story – complex, troubling, and ultimately triumphant
.
4. Stone Cold (Joe Pickett #14), by C.J. Box (Jan 2014)
presented by B.
The electrifying new Joe Pickett novel from the New York Times bestselling author. Everything about the man is a mystery: the massive ranch in the remote Black Hills of Wyoming that nobody ever visits, the women who live with him, the secret philanthropies, the private airstrip, the sudden disappearances. And especially the persistent rumors that the man’s wealth comes from killing people. Joe Pickett, still officially a game warden but now mostly a troubleshooter for the governor, is assigned to find out what the truth is, but he discovers a lot more than he’d bargained for. There are two other men living up at that ranch. One is a stone-cold killer who takes an instant dislike to Joe. The other is new—but Joe knows him all too well. The first man doesn’t frighten Joe. The second is another story entirely.
5. Uprising: A New Age is Dawning for Every Mother’s Daughter, by Sally Armstrong (March 2014)
presented by A.

The earth is shifting under the status of women. UPRISING tells a remarkable story about women claiming their own space – against all odds – and how this shift from oppression to emancipation will improve the economy, reduce poverty and curtail conflict. Sally Armstrong, also known as the war correspondent for the world’s women, has been following the action on the front line for women and girls in Bosnia, Egypt, Congo, The Middle East, Afghanistan and America for twenty-five years. She says the manifesto for this revolution is being written in mud-brick huts in Afghanistan and on Tehrir Square in Egypt and in the forests of the Congo, as well as on the streets of Kenya, where 160 girls sued their government for failing to protect them from being raped, and won, and in Pakistan, where Malala Yousafzai, is fighting for the rights of all girls. Armstrong has been an eye witness to the worst atrocities and is now the first to write about the astonishing changes that are happening in Asia, Africa and the Americas.Her eye-witness reporting has earned her many awards including the Gold Award from the National Magazine Awards Foundation and the Author’s Award from the Foundation for the Advancement of Canadian Letters. She received the Amnesty International Canada Media Award in 2000, 2002 and again in 2011. She was a member of the International Women’s Commission a UN body that consists of 20 Palestinian women, 20 Israeli women and 12 internationals whose mandate is assisting with the path to peace in the Middle East.

6. The Grace in Dying: A Message of Hope, Comfort and Spiritual Transformation, by Kathleen D. Singh (2013)
also presented by A.

The author came to speak to our local College, J. also highly recommends her books

In this brilliantly conceived and beautifully written book, Kathleen Dowling Singh illuminates the profound psychological and spiritual transformations experiences by the dying as the natural process of death reconnects them with the source of their being. Examining the end of life in the light of current psychological understanding, religious wisdom, and compassionate medical science, The Grace of Dying offers a fresh, deeply comforting message of hope and courage as we contemplate the meaning of our mortality.While the prevailing Western medical tradition has seen death as an enemy to be fought and overcome, Singh offers a richer and more rewarding path of understanding. Combining extensive training and education in developmental psychology with profound spiritual insight, she balances expert analysis with moving accounts drawn from her experiences working with hundreds of dying patients at a large hospice.Singh moves beyond the five stages of dying revealed in Kübler-Ross’s classic On Death and Dying, and finds in the “nearing death experience” even more significant and forming stages of surrender and transcendence. These stages involve the qualities of grace: letting go, radiance, focusing inward, silence, a sense of the sacred, wisdom, intensity, and, in the end, a merging with Spirit. Through this intense process, we come to experience at last the reality of our true self, which transcends our finite ego and bodily existence, and our merging with the source of being from which we originated. Dying is safe.

In clear, nontechnical language, Singh reveals the transformations that come with dying, using the vocabulary of growing Western, as well as Eastern, wisdom.

Written for those aware that their life is coming to an end, those who care for the dying, and, ultimately, for all of us who inevitably face our own death and the deaths of the people we love, The Grace in Dying reveals that dying is the most transforming, powerful, and spiritually rich of life’s experiences.

7. Paris Without End: The True Story of Hemingway’s First Wife, by Gioia Diliberto (1992)
presented by S.

Hadley Richardson and Ernest Hemingway were the golden couple of Paris in the twenties, the center of an expatriate community boasting the likes of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, and James and Nora Joyce. In this haunting account of the young Hemingways, Gioia Diliberto explores their passionate courtship, their family life in Paris with baby Bumby, and their thrilling, adventurous relationship—a literary love story scarred by Hadley’s loss of the only copy of Hemingway’s first novel and ultimately destroyed by a devastating ménage à trois on the French Riviera.Compelling, illuminating, poignant, and deeply insightful, Paris Without End provides a rare, intimate glimpse of the writer who so fully captured the American imagination and the remarkable woman who inspired his passion and his art—the only woman Hemingway never stopped loving.

8. The Unfinished Presidency: Jimmy Carter’s Journey to the Nobel Peace Prize, by Douglas G. Brinkley (1998)
presented by R.

Jimmy Carter left the White House in January 1981, defeated in his bid for reelection and rejected by the American public — but hardly broken. Outside the Oval Office, with a commitment rarely seen in an ex-president, he was more determined than ever to complete his life’s mission: the achievement of world peace.With unique access to the Carter archives and to the man himself, award-winning historian Douglas Brinkley brings us this unprecedented biography of the former President. Here are penetrating observations of Carter’s complex relationships with such world figures as Mikhail Gorbachev, Deng Xiaoping, Margaret Thatcher, Fidel Castro, and Yasir Arafat, as well as his associations with the presidents who have succeeded him. Brinkley also reassesses the achievements of Carter’s underrated White House tenure — the Camp David accords, Panama Canal treaties, and his championing of human rights. The Unfinished Presidency is the definitive portrait of this formidable world statesman.

Sharp Hook of Love

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9. The Sharp Hook of Love: A Novel of Heloise and Abelard, by Sherry Jones (Oct 2014)
presented by me

 

Among the young women of 12th century Paris, Heloise d’Argenteuil stands apart. Extraordinarily educated and quick-witted, she is being groomed by her uncle to become an abbess in the service of God. But with one encounter, her destiny changes forever.Pierre Abelard, headmaster at the Nôtre Dame Cloister School, is acclaimed as one of the greatest philosophers in France. His controversial reputation only adds to his allure, yet despite the legions of women swooning over his poetry and dashing looks, he is captivated by the brilliant Heloise alone. As their relationship blossoms from a meeting of the minds to a forbidden love affair, both Heloise and Abelard must choose between love, duty, and ambition.

Sherry Jones weaves the lovers’ own words into an evocative account of desire and sacrifice. As intimate as it is erotic, as devastating as it is beautiful, The Sharp Hook of Love is a poignant, tender tribute to one of history’s greatest romances, and to love’s power to transform and endure.

Click on the book cover to access my personal review

 

 HAVE YOU READ ANY OF THOSE?
WHICH ONE IS YOUR FAVORITE?

12 titles for our April Book Club (2013)

Recap of our Block Book Club April meeting

 

 

Recap of the titles weshared [synopsis from Goodreads.com]:

1) Resolve

by J.J. Hensley (March 2013) [presented by B]

In the Pittsburgh Marathon, 18,000 people from all over the world will participate. Over 9,500 will run the half marathon, 4,000 will run brief stretches as part of a relay. 4,500 people will attempt to cover the full 26.2 miles. Over 200 of the participants will quit, realizing it just wasn’t their day. More than 100 will get injured and require medical treatment. And one man is going to be murdered.
When Dr. Cyprus Keller lines up to start the race, he knows who is going to die for one simple reason. He’s going to kill them.
As a professor of Criminology at Three Rivers University, and a former police officer, Dr. Cyprus Keller is an expert in criminal behavior and victimology. However, when one of his female students is murdered and his graduate assistant attempts to kill him, Keller finds himself frantically swinging back and forth between being a suspect and a victim. When the police assign a motive to the crimes that Keller knows cannot be true, he begins to ask questions that somebody out there does not want answered.
In the course of 26.2 miles, Keller recounts how he found himself encircled by a series of killings that have shocked the city, while literally pursuing his prey – the man who was behind it all.
www.hensley-books.com

2) Split Second (FBI Thriller #15)

by Catherine Coulter (2011) [presented by J]

The number-one New York Times-bestselling author returns with another pulse-pounding thriller featuring FBI agents Dillon Savich and Lacey Sherlock, and introducing Speical Agents Lucy Carlyle and Cooper McKnight.
A serial killer is on the loose, and it’s up to FBI agents Dillon Savich and Lacey Sherlock to bring him down. They soon discover that the killer has blood ties to an infamous and now long-dead monster. Savich and Sherlock are joined by agents Lucy Carlyle and Cooper McKnight, and the chase is on.
At the same time, Agent Carlyle learns from her dying father that her grandfather didn’t simply walk away from his family twenty-two years ago: he was, in fact, murdered by his wife, Lucy’s grandmother. Determined to find the truth, Lucy moves into her grandmother’s Chevy Chase mansion. What she finds, however, is a nightmare. Not only does she discover the truth of what happened all those years ago, but she faces a new mystery, one that has been passed down from mother to daughter for generations.
As the hunt for the serial killer escalates, Savich realizes he’s become the killer’s focus, and perhaps the next victim. It’s up to Lucy to stop this madness before it’s too late.

3) The Storyteller

by Jodi Picoult (Feb 2013) [presented by A]

Sage Singer befriends an old man who’s particularly beloved in her community. Josef Weber is everyone’s favorite retired teacher and Little League coach. They strike up a friendship at the bakery where Sage works. One day he asks Sage for a favor: to kill him. Shocked, Sage refuses…and then he confesses his darkest secret – he deserves to die, because he was a Nazi SS guard. Complicating the matter? Sage’s grandmother is a Holocaust survivor.
What do you do when evil lives next door? Can someone who’s committed a truly heinous act ever atone for it with subsequent good behavior? Should you offer forgiveness to someone if you aren’t the party who was wronged? And most of all – if Sage even considers his request – is it murder, or justice?

 

4) Stalin, The History Of A Dictator

by H. Montgomery Hyde (1971) [presented by P]

sorry guys, could not find any online synopsis. It is a thorough biography of 679 pages

 

P. also presented:

5) Dr Zhivago

by Boris Pasternak (1957)

In the grand tradition of the epic novel, Boris Pasternak’s masterpiece brings to life the drama and immensity of the Russian Revolution through the story of the gifted physician-poet, Zhivago; the revolutionary, Strelnikov; and Lara, the passionate woman they both love. Caught up in the great events of politics and war that eventually destroy him and millions of others, Zhivago clings to the private world of family life and love, embodied especially in the magical Lara.
First published in Italy in 1957, Doctor Zhivago was not allowed to appear in the Soviet Union until 1987, twenty-seven years after the author’s death.

 

6) Cutting for Stone

by Abraham Verghese (2009) [presented by M]

cutting for stone

Click on the book cover to read my review

A sweeping, emotionally riveting first novel—an enthralling family saga of Africa and America, doctors and patients, exile and home.
Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon at a mission hospital in Addis Ababa. Orphaned by their mother’s death in childbirth and their father’s disappearance, bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution. Yet it will be love, not politics—their passion for the same woman—that will tear them apart and force Marion, fresh out of medical school, to flee his homeland. He makes his way to America, finding refuge in his work as an intern at an underfunded, overcrowded New York City hospital. When the past catches up to him—nearly destroying him—Marion must entrust his life to the two men he thought he trusted least in the world: the surgeon father who abandoned him and the brother who betrayed him.
An unforgettable journey into one man’s remarkable life, and an epic story about the power, intimacy, and curious beauty of the work of healing others

 

7) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and the whole series

by J.K. Rowling (2003) [jointly presented by R and P]

Harry Potter has never played a sport while flying on a broomstick. He’s never worn a Cloak of Invisibility, befriended a giant, or helped hatch a dragon. All Harry knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley. Harry’s room is a tiny cupboard under the stairs, and he hasn’t had a birthday party in ten years.
But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to a wonderful place he never dreamed existed. There he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic around every corner, but a great destiny that’s been waiting for him… if Harry can survive the encounter

 

8) Cannery Row

by John Steinbeck (1945) [presented by R]

Cannery Row is a book without much of a plot. Rather, it is an attempt to capture the feeling and people of a place, the cannery district of Monterey, California, which is populated by a mix of those down on their luck and those who choose for other reasons not to live “up the hill” in the more respectable area of town. The flow of the main plot is frequently interrupted by short vignettes that introduce us to various denizens of the Row, most of whom are not directly connected with the central story. These vignettes are often characterized by direct or indirect reference to extreme violence: suicides, corpses, and the cruelty of the natural world.
The “story” of Cannery Row follows the adventures of Mack and the boys, a group of unemployed yet resourceful men who inhabit a converted fish-meal shack on the edge of a vacant lot down on the Row

9) The Heming Way: How to Unleash the Booze-Inhaling, Animal-Slaughtering, War-Glorifying, Hairy-Chested Retro-Sexual Legend Within, Just Like Papa!

by Marty Beckerman (2012) [presented by J]

 

Marty Beckerman’s hilarious guide for the modern man to booze, battle, and bull-fight his way to becoming more like Hemingway
More than fifty years have passed since the death of Ernest Hemingway, history’s ultimate man, and young males today—obsessed with Facebook, Twitter, and Playstation—know nothing about his legendary brand of rugged, alcoholic masculinity. They cannot skin a fish, dominate a battlefield, or transform majestic creatures of the Southern Hemisphere into piano keyboards.
The Heming Way demonstrates how modern eunuchs—brainwashed by PETA and Alcoholics Anonymous—can learn from Papa’s unparalleled example: drunken, unshaven, meat-devouring, wife-divorcing, and gloriously self-destructive.
Advice includes:
How to kill enough animals to render a species endangered—just like Papa!
Getting your friends to think drinking a daiquiri is manly . . . just by drinking one nine yourself
Achieving sufficiently high testosterone levels to never have to worry about the chance of having a daughter instead of a son
And much more!
Profane, insightful, hilarious and loaded with more than 150 photos, facts and insights about Papa, The Heming Way is a difficult path, and not for the weak, but truth is manlier than fiction

 

10) Love is a Mix Tape

by Rob Sheffield (2007) [presented by R]

In this stunning memoir, Rob Sheffield, a veteran rock and pop culture critic and staff writer for Rolling Stone magazine, tells the story of his musical coming of age, and how rock music, the first love of his life, led him to his second, a girl named Renee. Rob and Renee’s life together – they wed after graduate school, both became music journalists, and were married only five years when Renee died suddenly on Mother’s Day, 1997 – is shared through the window of the mix tapes they obsessively compiled. There are mixes to court each other, mixes for road trips, mixes for doing the dishes, mixes for sleeping – and, eventually, mixes to mourn Rob’s greatest loss. The tunes were among the great musical output of the early 1990s – Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Pavement, Yo La Tengo, REM, Weezer – as well as classics by The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Aretha Franklin and more. Mixing the skilful, tragic punch of Dave Eggers and the romantic honesty of Nick Hornby, LOVE IS A MIX TAPE is a story of lost love and the kick-you-in-the-gut energy of great pop music

 

11) Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

by Brené Brown (2012) [jointly presented by F and P]

Researcher and thought leader Dr. Brené Brown offers a powerful new vision that encourages us to dare greatly: to embrace vulnerability and imperfection, to live wholeheartedly, and to courageously engage in our lives.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; . . . who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” —Theodore Roosevelt
Every day we experience the uncertainty, risks, and emotional exposure that define what it means to be vulnerable, or to dare greatly. Whether the arena is a new relationship, an important meeting, our creative process, or a difficult family conversation, we must find the courage to walk into vulnerability and engage with our whole hearts.
In Daring Greatly, Dr. Brown challenges everything we think we know about vulnerability. Based on twelve years of research, she argues that vulnerability is not weakness, but rather our clearest path to courage, engagement, and meaningful connection. The book that Dr. Brown’s many fans have been waiting for, Daring Greatly will spark a new spirit of truth—and trust—in our organizations, families, schools, and communities.

 

During the discussion, 2 other books were mentioned:

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

by Brené Brown (2010)

Each day we face a barrage of images and ideas—from society and the media—telling us who we should be. We are led to believe that if we look perfect, live perfect, and do everything perfectly, we’d no longer struggle with feelings of inadequacy. Ironically, it’s the pursuit of perfection that fuels the message ‘never good enough.’

In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown, Ph.D., L.M.S.W., the leading expert on shame, reveals that it is actually our imperfections and vulnerabilities that connect us to one another as human beings and make us who we are. We are naturally drawn to those we view as authentic, real, and down-to-earth. It makes sense, then, that we should stop reaching for something ‘better’ and, instead, strive to be who we are, fully owning every aspect of ourselves.

This fresh 52-week guide can be read as a year-long program of WholeHearted living or by topic – whatever is the most meaningful for each reader. Brown engages our hearts, minds, and spirits in finding the beauty of authenticity and evolving our self-perceptions through fifteen guideposts that emerged from her latest groundbreaking research.

 Each guidepost is illustrated with essays, stories, inspiring quotes, meditations, and dynamic creative exercises designed to help us develop the skills to accept our vulnerabilities with compassion and practice loving-kindness toward ourselves and others.

 

The Spirituality of Imperfection: Storytelling and the Search for Meaning

by Ernest Kurtz, Katherine Ketcham (1993)

I Am Not Perfect is a simple  statement of profound truth, the first step toward  understanding the human condition, for to deny  your essential imperfection is to deny yourself and  your own humanity. The spirituality of  imperfection, steeped in the rich traditions of the Hebrew  prophets and Greek thinkers, Buddhist sages and  Christian disciples, is a message as timeless as it is  timely. This insightful work draws on the wisdom  stories of the ages to provide an extraordinary  wellspring of hope and inspiration to anyone  thirsting for spiritual growth and guidance in these  troubled times.
Who are we? Why so  we so often fall short of our goals for ourselves  and others? By seeking to understand our  limitations and accept the inevitably of failure and pain,  we being to ease the hurt and move toward a  greater sense of serenity and self-awareness.  The Spirituality Of Imperfection brings  together stories from many spiritual and  philosophical paths, weaving past traditions into a  spirituality and a new way of thinking and living that  works today. It speaks so anyone who yearns to find  meaning within suffering. Beyond theory and  technique, inside this remarkable book you will find a  new way of thinking, a way of living that enables  a truly human existence

F mentioned a video on http://www.ted.com/: a poem on being bullied. You can watch the video by clicking on this link: http://www.ted.com/talks /shane_koyczan_to_this_day_for_the_bullied_and_beautiful.html

You an also read the transcript, available under the video, if you prefer.

All TED conferences/videos are free. On the left menu, you can choose by topic. I have personally watched a few on ecology and environment, really excellent. I recommend this one on this guy growing vegetables in a suburb of South L.A.: http://www.ted.com/talks/ron_finley_a_guerilla_gardener_in_south_central_la.html

 12) Scent of Triumph

by Jan Moran (2012) [presented by me]

Scent of Triumph

Click on the book cover to read my own review

Scent of Triumph is the story of Danielle Bretancourt, a talented young French perfumer with a flair for fashion and a natural olfactory gift. In the language of perfumery, she is a Nose, with the rare ability to recognize thousands of essences by memory. The story opens on the day England declares war on Germany, and Danielle and her family are caught in the midst of a raging disaster sweeping across Europe.
Her life takes a tragic turn when her husband and son are lost behind enemy lines. She spies for the French resistance, determined to find them, but is forced to flee Europe with fragments of her family. Destitute, she mines her talents to create a magnificent perfume that captures the hearts of Hollywood’s top stars, then gambles again to win wealth and success as a couturier. Her intelligence and flair attracts the adoration of Jonathan Newell-Grey, of England’s top shipping conglomerate, and Cameron Murphy, Hollywood’s most charismatic star.
Danielle charts her course through devastating wartime losses and revenge; lustful lovers and loveless marriages; and valiant struggles to reunite her family. Set between privileged lifestyles and gritty realities, here is one woman’s story of courage, spirit, and resilience.

***

 HAVE YOU READ ANY OF THOSE?
WHICH ONE IS YOUR FAVORITE?

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