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Book Markers 10.29.20

Thu, 10/29/2020 - 08:23

“Swimming Lessons”

If you're going to judge a book by its cover, here's a good one.

"Swimming Lessons and Other Stories" by Suzanne McNear sports a detail from an Eric Fischl oil painting, "The Stuntman," remarkable in its bluish liquidity, showing a swimmer plying the water, heading into what looks awfully like one of those fiery, car-stopping Long Beach sunsets.

Ms. McNear, the Sag Harbor author of an autobiographical novel, "Knock Knock," who once upon a time wrote theater reviews for this newspaper, notes some publishing history — the title story from this collection and another of its tales, "A Chicago Story," having appeared previously in Green Mountains Review. And that Chicago setting has further relevance, as that was where Ms. McNear held forth as the fiction editor for Playboy magazine years ago. 

Inside you'll find stories circling around F. Scott Fitzgerald and Joseph Conrad and even a poem, "Lord Weary's Wives," saluting Robert Lowell. 

Nazi Art and “Restitution”

You readers out there might remember Janet Lee Berg from her years contributing essays to The Star, or her mini book "Glitz of the Hamptons," or, in 2016, her historical novel "Rembrandt's Shadow," based on a family story of artworks looted by the Nazis during World War II.

Now there's a sequel by the transplanted South Carolinian, "Restitution," from Koehler Books. It's similarly multigenerational but with a focus on Sylvie Rosenberg, a Holocaust survivor living in New York City in the 1970s. Rather than sit around stewing in guilt and resentment, Sylvie takes action, traveling back to Holland to fight the injustice of decades before.

The story involves the research of Lynn H. Nicholas, the author of "The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe's Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War." Ms. Berg's extended family, by the way, awaits any restitution or return of stolen art.


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