Posts Tagged The Travels of Daniel Ascher
To provide a bit of background, I read 150 books in 2015. I wrote 52 reviews for 2015 releases on this site. I gave very few books 5/5*. I am currently reading A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara so since I started it in 2015, I reserve the right to include it in my best of 2015 list.
Here are my picks for best fiction:
Outline by Rachel Cusk [Farrar, Straus and Giroux]
–gorgeous writing. purchase at Amazon: Outline: A Novel
Where Women are Kings by Christie Watson [Other Press]
–from my review: Simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming. Stunning. Entwines race, foster families, adoption, mental illness and cultural differences with exquisite descriptions and phrasing. purchase at Amazon: Where Women Are Kings
The Muralist by B.A. Shapiro [Algonquin]
–from my review: When you think every WWII story has been told, an original narrative comes along and you realize there’s a plethora of war stories remaining to be explored and shared. Abstract expressionist art, French refugees and the WPA collide in this riveting historical fiction novel that focuses on the sudden disappearance of young Jewish-American artist Alizée Benoit. purchase at Amazon: The Muralist: A Novel
Katherine Carlyle by Rupert Thomson [Other Press]
–from my review: Rather haunting and definitely unusual. It’s tough to describe except to say it’s part mystery and part personal exploration. A strange story –in a good way– with gorgeous writing and an intriguing story-line. purchase at Amazon: Katherine Carlyle
The Last September by Nina de Gramont [Algonquin]
–from my review: excellent characters and a dazzling story-line involving mental illness, family, infidelity, relationships, love and murder. purchase at Amazon: The Last September
Migratory Animals by Mary Helen Specht [Harper Perennial]
–engrossing, beautiful and creative novel about a group of 30-somethings finding their place in the world. purchase at Amazon: Migratory Animals: A Novel (P.S.)
Almost Famous Women by Megan Mayhew Bergman [Scribner]
–from my review: Brilliant concept and exquisitely written. This short story collection focuses on intriguing, bold and remarkable women from history. It’s edgy historical fiction. These women lived life as they chose to live it which likely made them misfits and outliers during their lifetimes. purchase at Amazon: Almost Famous Women: Stories by Mayhew Bergman, Megan (2015) Hardcover
The Travels of Daniel Ascher by Déborah Lévy-Bertherat [Other Press]
from my review: Touching, creative, lovely novel. It tells the story of a child of the Holocaust in a unique manner. purchase at Amazon: The Travels of Daniel Ascher
The Life and Death of Sophie Stark by Anna North [Blue Rider Press]
–from my review: a fascinating novel about creativity, artists, fitting in and being satisfied with success, fame and how we perceive ourselves and how we want others to understand us. Sophie Stark, who changed her name to suit her persona, is a renowned and elusive filmmaker. She makes enigmatic and often strikingly sad, honest films that strip bare the characters and dig into their psyches. purchase at Amazon: The Life and Death of Sophie Stark
Aquarium by David Vann [Atlantic Monthly Press]
–from my review: This is Vann’s first novel centered on a female protagonist. Twelve-year-old Caitlin lives in Seattle with her dockworker single mother. Older now, Caitlin looks back on this time with the wisdom one gains through age and experience. There’s a lighter tone than previous works until events draw to a boiling point for Caitlin and her mother. Every day after school Caitlin visits the aquarium to study the fish while waiting for her mom to finish work and retrieve her. She finds the various fish and sea life fascinating and allows herself contemplation and solitude. purchase at Amazon: Aquarium
Tightrope by Simon Mawer [Other Press]
-Feminist character Marian Sutro returns from WWII determined to find her place. from my review: Mawer writes exquisitely and Tightrope draws you in to Marian’s life, the consequences of her actions during WWII and how she copes in the present. On the cover, Marian looks like she’s in a Tamara de Lempicka painting. She’d be an ideal subject for the bold artist. Mawer includes cold war fears, atomic bombs, a gay scientist (Marian’s brother) as well as Marian’s love affair with a Russian Jew. purchase at Amazon: Tightrope
A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott [Doubleday]
–from my review: Kate Alcott writes spectacularly strong feminist female characters in historical fiction. Women who want to have careers and love. Women who juggle and manage both. Or learn from their decisions. They’re smart protagonists and Alcott has quickly become a must-read favorite author for me. She intermingles her fictional characters in real-life historical settings and it works. purchase at Amazon: A Touch of Stardust: A Novel
The Travels of Daniel Ascher By Deborah Levy-Bertherat.
Other Press| May 2015| 182 pages | $22.95| ISBN: 978-1-59051-707-9
Touching, creative, lovely novel. It tells the story of a child of the Holocaust in a unique manner. There’s a story within a story. French author Deborah Levy-Bertherat provides splendid descriptions of present day Paris as well as Paris during the Nazi occupation. It’s a wonderful translation by Adriana Hunter. The Travels of Daniel Ascher proves to be mysterious, adventurous and moving.
Archaeology student Helene Roche never paid much mind to her eccentric uncle Daniel, the author of a popular series of adventure novels in the vein of Treasure Island with a rapid following like Game of Thrones or Harry Potter. She arrives in Paris to study—living in a flat in Daniel’s building– and begins dating Guillaume, a serious fan of her great uncle’s novels and his heroic protagonist Peter. “In the most perilous episodes in every book, the insignia reminded Peter he’d brushed with death and it had saved him, and it would give him the strength to continue his battle against the adversities and injustices of this world.”
To create novels within a novel demands immense creativity for which Levy-Bertherat possesses plenty. Helene soon decides she needs to learn about the real Daniel not just the swashbuckling traveler who regales the children at holidays with his outlandish tales. Helene never knew that Daniel was adopted and one of the orphans of the Holocaust that her family took in during WWII. As she begins to investigate and discuss Daniel with her aunts she uncovers the truth. She travels to New York to meet his biological aunt. She then speaks with Daniel to discover that while he’s Daniel Roche he’s also Daniel Ascher too. He’s split between two worlds. Saved from great atrocities he lost his parents and sister to the Holocaust. Helene grows closer to her uncle and appreciates him much more.
It’s a delightfully-written exquisite novel.
–review by Amy Steele
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from Other Press.