Tuesday, April 15, 2008

"The Conversion"

Joseph Olshan is an award-winning American writer. His first novel, Clara's Heart, won the Times/Jonathan Cape Young Writers' Competition and went on to be made into a feature film starring Whoopi Goldberg. His other novels include Nightswimmer and Vanitas, as well as The Waterline, A Warmer Season, The Sound of Heaven and In Clara's Hands, a sequel to Clara's Heart.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, The Conversion, and reported the following:
P. 69 of The Conversion describes my narrator's being related to the famous Jewish/Italian author, Giorgio Bassani, the author of the celebrated novel The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (which was made into the famous film starring Dominique Sanda) about a privileged, wealthy Jewish family living in the town of Ferrara, Italy during WW II and who eventually are deported to the concentration camps. This reference is made because my narrator is at present staying in a villa owned by famous Italian novelist, the daughter of anti-fascists who allowed a Jewish family to hide in a subterranean maze of rooms until the Nazis, who were occupying the upper floors of the same building, began to suspect their presence. The Jewish family then moved to another hiding place in a convent and promptly converted to Catholicism to further evade the Nazis. This "conversion" is one of the many conversions described in my novel. It is also the subject and title of a novel by the famous Italian writer who has invited the narrator to come and live at her villa in the wake of his lover’s untimely death.
Read an excerpt from The Conversion, and learn more about the author and his work at Joseph Olshan's website.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue