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By Alex George

A LIBRARY magazine most sensible ebook OF THE YEAR


Everything he'd noticeable have been unimaginably assorted from the dry, dour streets of domestic, and to his shock he used to be now not sorry within the slightest. He used to be enthusiastic about the beguiling otherness of all of it.

And so started my grandfather's rapturous love affair with America—an affair that will proceed until eventually the day he died.

This is the tale of the Meisenheimer family members, advised by means of James, a third-generation American residing in Beatrice, Missouri. It's the place his German grandparents—Frederick and Jette—found themselves after travelling around the turbulent Atlantic, fording the flood-swollen Mississippi, and being dropped at a surprising halt via the damaged water of the pregnant Jette.

A solid American tells of Jette's dogged choice to feed a city sauerkraut and soul nutrition; the loves and losses of her young ones, Joseph and Rosa; and the precocious voices of James and his brothers, occasionally raised in discord...sometimes in excellent concord.

But in particular, A solid American is in regards to the track in Frederick's middle, a music that begun as an aria, was once jazzed via ragtime, and have become an anthem of affection for his followed state that the relatives nonetheless hears to today.

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He tried to imagine her pregnant. ” As she reads these lines— xxviii Foreword and agrees with them, since she publishes them un­ der her own name— Marguerite Yourcenar sets out to prove that one can be a woman otherwise. She’ll succeed. ” Marguerite Yourcenar her­ self, in the chronology established for the first vol­ ume of her works in Gallimard’s deluxe series of classics, “ Bibliotheque de la Pleiade,” places the writ­ ing of this story— “ a realistic evocation of Italian customs” — in 1927, even though it first appeared six years later.

It is true that the characters are Italian and that this tale of freeing someone from a spell is obviously Mediterranean. But is that enough? Other specialists, those who deal with Yourcenar and her use of history, stress its allusions to fascism— and to the communists who are persecuted and forced to escape from Italy. They also stress, pertinently but perhaps a little too exces­ sively, “ her historical technique,” which supposedly Foreword xxix underpins the text. Perhaps the specialists have paid too much attention to this slight narrative exercise.

The Dutch merchant, hungry, tried to break off the blue gourds of ripe figs, but hundreds o f bees buried in the succulent flesh stung him deeply on his hands and neck. When they reached the foot of the walls, they made a detour to avoid the guards. Without a sound, they headed toward the port o f the mermaid hunters, which was always deserted, for it had been many years since mermaids were hunted in that country. Their ship was floating idly on the waters, tied to a bronze toe, which was all that was left of a colossal statue erected to honor a god whose name no one re­ membered.

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