Wednesday, May 11, 2016

What is Lauren Belfer reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Lauren Belfer, author of And After the Fire.

Her entry begins:
When I’m writing fiction, reading fiction is almost impossible for me. My mind seems to rebel against entering other fictional worlds. Instead, I find myself rereading the same nonfiction books over and over, discovering in them some mysterious combination of reassurance and guidance.

As I’ve worked on And After the Fire, two nonfiction books have been on my desk for several years now: The Hare with Amber Eyes, by Edmund de Waal, and The Lost, A Search for Six of Six Million, by Daniel Mendelsohn. I was rereading these books again this morning. My copies are stained from spilled tea. They’ve become swollen with humidity and with dog-eared-pages. Virtually every page of The Lost is now turned down, to bring my attention back to...[read on]
About And After the Fire, from the publisher:
The New York Times-bestselling author of A Fierce Radiance and City of Light returns with a new powerful and passionate novel—inspired by historical events—about two women, one European and one American, and the mysterious choral masterpiece by Johann Sebastian Bach that changes both their lives.

In the ruins of Germany in 1945, at the end of World War II, American soldier Henry Sachs takes a souvenir, an old music manuscript, from a seemingly deserted mansion and mistakenly kills the girl who tries to stop him.

In America in 2010, Henry’s niece, Susanna Kessler, struggles to rebuild her life after she experiences a devastating act of violence on the streets of New York City. When Henry dies soon after, she uncovers the long-hidden music manuscript. She becomes determined to discover what it is and to return it to its rightful owner, a journey that will challenge her preconceptions about herself and her family’s history—and also offer her an opportunity to finally make peace with the past.

In Berlin, Germany, in 1783, amid the city’s glittering salons where aristocrats and commoners, Christians and Jews, mingle freely despite simmering anti-Semitism, Sara Itzig Levy, a renowned musician, conceals the manuscript of an anti-Jewish cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach, an unsettling gift to her from Bach’s son, her teacher. This work and its disturbing message will haunt Sara and her family for generations to come.

Interweaving the stories of Susanna and Sara, and their families, And After the Fire traverses over two hundred years of history, from the eighteenth century through the Holocaust and into today, seamlessly melding past and present, real and imagined. Lauren Belfer’s deeply researched, evocative, and compelling narrative resonates with emotion and immediacy.
Learn more about the book and author at Lauren Belfer's website.

The Page 69 Test: A Fierce Radiance.

My Book, The Movie: A Fierce Radiance.

The Page 69 Test: And After the Fire.

Writers Read: Lauren Belfer.

--Marshal Zeringue