Sailor and Fiddler: Reflections of a 100-Year-Old Author

Herman Wouk. Simon & Schuster, $20 (160p) ISBN 978-1-5011-2854-7
At 100 years old, bestselling novelist Wouk remains a thriving, vital writer. In this slim memoir, what comes through is the sense of purpose and faith that has animated his writing, and in particular, his great historical novels, The Winds of War and War and Remembrance. He describes the creation of these testaments to WWII and the Holocaust as his "main task" in life. But this journey down memory lane is hardly somber—serious subjects are typically leavened by Wouk's keen sense of humor. (He credits Mark Twain's sense of "warm laughing life" with inspiring him to be a writer.) The narrative is episodic, but even this loosely organized book reveals the hand of a master storyteller. It emphasizes two aspects of Wouk's identity: "the sailor" (a reference to his WWII Navy service), a dedicated professional, and "the fiddler" (a nod to the musical), a Jewish man of faith. Wouk ends with the tantalizing thought of his diary one day being published by his sons; it contains, he says "the whole Herman Wouk story." For now, it is enough to have this small love letter to his readers, whom he thanks "for the chance to please... through my books." Indeed he has, and, to our great good fortune, continues to do so. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 02/01/2016
Release date: 01/01/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 261 pages - 978-1-4104-8862-6
Paperback - 160 pages - 978-1-5011-2855-4
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-5082-1481-6
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-5011-2856-1
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