Reading recommendations: Displaced Persons, a novel, Ghita Schwarz
In May 1945, Pavel Mandl, a Polish Jew recently liberated from a concentration camp lands near a displaced person's camp in the British occupation zone of newly defeated Germany. Alone, possessing nothing but a map, a few tins of food, a toothbrush and his identity papers, he must scrape together a new life in a chaotic community of refugees, civilians, and soldiers.
Gifted with a talent for black market trading, Pavel soon procures clothing, false documents and a modest house, where he installs himself and a pair of fellow refugees, Fela, a young widow who fled Poland for Russia at the onset of the war, and Chaim, a resourceful teenage boy whose smuggling skills have brought him to the Western zones. The trio soon form a makeshift family, searching for surviving relatives, railing against their circumscribed existence, and dreaming of visas to America.
Fifteen years later, haunted by decisions they made a "DPs", Pavel and Fela re married and living in Queens with their young son and daughter, and Chaim has recently emigrated from Israel with his wife, Sima. Pavel opens a small tailoring shop with his scheming brother in law while Fela struggles to establish peace in a loosely traditional household; Chaim and Sima adapt cheerfully to American life and its promise of freedom from a brutal past. Their lives are no longer dominated by the need to endure, fight, hide, or escape. Instead, they grapple with past trauma in everyday moments: taking the children to the municipal pool, shopping for liquor, arguing with landlords.
For decades, Pavel, Fela and Chaim battle over memory and identity on the sly, within private groups of survivors. But as the Iron Curtain falls in the 1990s, American society starts to embrace the tragedy as a cultural commodity and surviving politics go public. Clever and stubborn, tyrannical and generous, Pavel, Fela, and Chaim articulate the self-conscious striving of an immigrant community determined to write its own history on its own terms.
Driftwood Lane, A Nantucket Love Story, Denise Hunter
Meridith Ward has crafted a carefully ordered life to make up for the chaos that plagued her childhood years. But one phone call upsets all that. Within the span of several minutes, Meridith learns that the father who abandoned her is dead and she's been named sole guardian of his other three children. She nervously heads to Nantucket to care for the siblings she's never met with plans to stay until their uncle returns from his trip before relinquishing guardianship to him.
She arrives to find the children living at Summer House, a Bed and Breakfast that's falling apart around them. Meridith wants to move on as soon as possible, but the inn will never sell in its dilapidated condition. Then itinerant handyman, Jake, shows up with an offer she can't refuse.
Much like the powerful ocean just a short walk from her deck, Jake appeals to Meridith. But she senses he is also capable of pulling her under in a heartbeat. What if the thing she fears the most is exactly what she needs? Can she trust God with the details and relish the adventure?
Whiplash, an FBI Thriller, Catherine Coulter
Yale professor Dr. Edward Kenter's father is undergoing chemotherapy when the supply of a critical accompanying drug, Culovort, suddenly runs out. Unwilling to accept the drug manufacturer's disingenuous excuse of production line problems, Dr. Kender hires private investigator, Erin Pulaski to prove that something more sinister is going on at Schniffer Hartwin.
And the story goes on. It's a page turner!
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