Summer Reading

FICTION

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DORA BRUDER by Patrick Modiano
Translated from the French by Joanna Kilmartin, University of California Press, 1997
2014 Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature

This is a haunting gem of a book. The Nobel Foundation said, “[Modiano] has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the Occupation.”

About 25 years ago the author came upon an ad in the personal column 1941 edition of Paris Soir: “Missing, a young girl, Dora Bruder, age 15, height 1 m 55, oval-shaped face, gray-brown eyes, gray sports jacket, maroon pullover, navy blue skirt and hat, brown gym shoes.”. So begins Patrick Modiano’s quest to find out what happened to Dora Bruder. Through the author’s literary voice we hear in the first person, the voices of the lost and disenfranchised people he is looking for, namely Dora and his own father. This is a book about lost stories, lost people and lost history.


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THE LOST CHILD by Caryl Phillips
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York  2015

Dealing with one of the great library mysteries of all time, Heathcliff and just what were his origins, his youth, intermingled with the story of an orphan and her love for a foreigner. This is a sweeping story of outcasts and orphans; at the center of the story is Monica Johnson, cut off from her family and raising her sons on the moors of northern England. Mr. Phillips combines the past and present, the world of Classical English literature with the hardscrabble life of contemporary England.

I like the style and story line of this book. I recommend it for terrific summer reading.


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PRIMATES OF PARK AVENUE: A Memoir by Wednesday Martin
Simon & Schuster  2015

This is an intelligent and humorous memoir of life on the Upper East Side in Manhattan of rich and striving New Yorkers; the author uses anthropology to analyze Upper East Side mothers, and the resultant observations are wise and very funny.

This is a perfect light-hearted but clever, moving and thoroughly enjoyable beach read. Enjoy!


NON-FICTION

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Caffè Florian, by Gianni Berengo Gardin
published by Marsilio

This is a photographic journey of perhaps the most famous cafe in the world…Caffè Florian, in Venice.

It feels like the pictures are from twenty thirty even fifty years ago, but the truth is all of them were taken in 2012 with a few exceptions. They have an iconic timeless quality about them. I was attracted to this black and white book because of the photographer. He is one of the world’s greatest Italian photographers.

The cafe also has along tradition of hosting art exhibits and has become an icon of Venetian and Italian taste in the world.

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LOULOU de la FALAISE by Ariel de Ravenel & Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni
Rizzoli, New York 2014

I could not help myself, recently I wrote a little blurb about this coffee table book in one of my eCLIPPINGS pieces. So now I own the book and love it.

I adored Loulou de la Falaise, she was an icon of fashion and style and this book satisfies my inner urge to see as may photographs as I can about this remarkable muse. She was the embodiment of French chic (however she was British!). Renowned for her bohemian and daring style and well as her nonchalance and humor, this Anglo-French beauty’s influence indeed carried a much-needed breath of fresh air to French haute couture.  Loulou was an original with her sense of color and fantasy.  She was Yves Saint Laurent’s right-hand person for many years and designed extraordinary jewelry and accessories for St. Laurent’s collections. I have a necklace from her own line in her later years.

There are more than 400 professional and candid images, a forward by Pierre Berge and interviews with Loulou intimates such as Ines de la Fressange, Paloma Picasso and Diane von Furstenberg. This monograph as the book is called, reveals all sides of Loulou’s elegant, multifaceted and iconoclastic life. (My cat Loulou is her namesake!)

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LOULOU-COUCH

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