Love and Treasure

Ayelet Waldman. Knopf, $26.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-385-53354-6
This lush, multigenerational tale by Waldman (Bad Mother) of loves lost and found begins at a portentous historical starting point: the so-called Hungarian Gold Train. Waldman traces the path of a single pendant taken from this notorious shipment of Nazi-confiscated treasures, which the U.S. seized at the end of WWII but largely failed to return to the original owners, many of them Hungarian Jews. The pendant’s decoration, an enameled peacock, is a symbol of bad fortune, boding ill for the young U.S. Army lieutenant, Jack Wiseman, who takes it from the Gold Train in 1945. In the present, he passes the pendant on to his unlucky-in-love granddaughter, Natalie, imploring her to return it to its rightful owner. With that request, the narrative leaps back in time, showing Jack’s doomed romance with Ilona, a Holocaust survivor, and the life-changing early-20th-century friendship between pioneering female medical student Nina and dwarf suffragette Gizella Weisz. It also focuses on present-day Syrian-Jewish art dealer Amitai Shasho’s attempts to come to grips with his past. Inventively told from multiple perspectives, Waldman’s latest is a seductive reflection on just how complicated the idea of “home” is­­—and why it is worth more than treasure. Agent: Mary Evans, Mary Evans Inc. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/03/2014
Release date: 04/01/2014
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 272 pages - 978-0-385-53355-3
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-307-73957-5
Hardcover - 559 pages - 978-1-62899-117-8
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