Memory and Desire

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Appignanesi's first foray into fiction (her nonfiction books on the arts have been published in Europe) is an entertaining multigenerational saga. The time span ('30s-'80s), venues (Poland, Paris, Rome, New York) and cast of characters (pre- and post-WW II aristocracy and intelligentsia and their progeny) are familiar, and the requisite formula of drama, passion, sex and details of opulent lifestyles will please devotees of romance novels. The focal point of the story is talented, perplexing and erotic Sylvie Kowalska Jardine, whose haunting secrets impair and ultimately damage her personal and familial relationships, particularly that with daughter Katherine, who leaves home at 13 to escape her mother's violent behavior. Among the well-crafted characters are Thomas Sachs, a wealthy, hedonistic publishing entrepreneur who becomes the young Katherine's special mentor; Princess Mathilde, who shares many secrets with Sylvie's psychoanalyst husband; and dashing Italian film director Alexei Gismondi, whose appearance many years after Sylvie's untimely suicide begins the series of flashbacks that propel the plot. The author's wide-ranging knowledge of art, literature and history enriches the novel, making it an enjoyable if not particularly memorable read. 50,000 first printing; major ad/promo. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Sensual, unpredictable, Sylvie Kowalska enchants Jacob Jardine in pre-World War II France. She teases him with other men and women, marries him, pushes him away, and saves his life during the war. After the war, though, Sylvie becomes shrill and alcoholic; she loves her son, Leo, but psychologically abuses her young daughter, Katherine. Jacob, a renowned psychotherapist, can't keep Katherine from growing up in a miasma of pain. It is only after Sylvie's suicide and Katherine's flight from her sadistic husband that young filmmaker Alexei Gismondi provides the key to Sylvie's life and Katherine's salvation. Richly drawn memorable characters and a fluid, engaging writing style elevate this lengthy novel a notch above the usual glitz-and-romance fiction. Here the glitz plays second fiddle to the intense emotions which define plot and carry dialog. Highly recommended for popular fiction collections. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/15/91.-- Donna L. Schulman, Cornell Univ. Libs., New York
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451175533
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/1/1993
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 640
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 5.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

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