Thursday, April 3, 2014

"Love and Treasure"

Ayelet Waldman is the author of Love and Treasure, Red Hook Road and the New York Times bestseller Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities and Occasional Moments of Grace. Her novel Love and Other Impossible Pursuits was adapted into a film called The Other Woman starring Natalie Portman. Her personal essays and profiles of such public figures as Hillary Clinton have been published in a wide variety of newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, Vogue, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. Her radio commentaries have appeared on “All Things Considered” and “The California Report.”

Waldman applied the Page 69 Test to Love and Treasure and reported the following:
Remarkably (though perhaps not -- isn't that the very point of this exercise?) page 69 of Love and Treasure encapsulates pretty much everything this book is about.
Chapter 6

Months passed, the weather turned, and Jack continued to spend his evenings and rare days off with Ilona and his days as a glorified quartermaster’s clerk, processing requisition orders from U.S. generals throughout Land Salzburg, all of whom, it seemed, were in need of carpets and china, linens and tableware. He filled the orders and kept his records, periodically expressed his objections to his superior officer, and waited for someone to do something about it all. And then, finally, one day it seemed about to end. He was sitting at his makeshift desk, writing a letter of recommendation for Private Streeter, who was applying to pharmacy college in Albany in anticipation of his release, when the warehouse door creaked open, and Lieutenant Colonel Price strode through, a crowd of civilians in his wake. There were five in all, a small clutch of older men in brushed and mended suits and hats, and one younger man, taller than the others, elegantly attired, with watchful eyes. Bringing up the rear was Rabbi Bohnen.

“Lieutenant,” Price began, “I’m going to need you to—”

“If I might have a moment?” Rabbi Bohnen said. “I’d like to introduce Lieutenant Wiseman to our guests.”

Not used to being interrupted by an officer of lesser rank, but nonetheless respectful of the chaplain’s role, Price pressed his lips together and nodded.

“Lieutenant Wiseman, this is the delegation from Hungary, emissaries of the Jewish community of Budapest come to review the contents of the train.”

Finally! Jack thought. “Jó napot,” he said.

The Hungarians exclaimed and began speaking to him in a rush of Hungarian, but Jack had to hold up his hand. “That’s about all I know,” he said.

“It’s more than I do,” the rabbi said. “Jack, I also want to introduce you to Gideon Rafael, a member of the political department of the Jewish Agency, from Eretz Yisrael.”
This page introduces you to all the various competing claims to the contents of the Gold Train. There are the high-ranking American military officers who are pillaging the contents to furnish their Austrian residences. Many, if not most, of these officers will ultimately take those items home with them when they return to the states. The main character of this section of the novel, Jack, has been tormented by his part in what he views as akin to looting. Jack is relieved (even thrilled) because for the first time, delegates of the Hungarian Jewish Community (or rather its remnant) have finally been permitted to come to view the property. Jack believes that the property will be returned to those with the greatest claim to it and that he will finally stop being a party to what he feels is a crime.

And as if that wasn't enough, he meets for the first time a man, Gideon Rafael, who will eventually play a tragic role in the end of Jack's love affair with Ilona.
Learn more about the author and her work at Ayelet Waldman's website.

Writers Read: Ayelet Waldman.

--Marshal Zeringue