Publishers Weekly: "Zackheim delivers the epic life of a woman whose art and survival become ever more tightly bound with passing years."
Date: Jul 24 2007
The author of Einstein’s Daughter and Violette’s Embrace, Zackheim delivers the epic life of a woman whose art and survival become ever more tightly bound with passing years. With her firebrand parents dead at the close of WWI, Sophie Marks lives out a protracted childhood aesthetics lesson in the pre-WWII English Midlands with her painter grandfather Eli and poet grandmother Claire. At the Slade School of Art in London, Sophie falls for French student Rene; she returns home pregnant and abandoned. Hitler’s bombings bring terror and hardship, and a direct hit upon the family’s cottage leaves Sophie bereft. Afterward, in a convalescent sanitarium, Sophie’s romance with the shell-shocked and disfigured Maj. Hugh Roderick ends in tragedy, but not before the two exchange portraits. Sophie again returns to her barren homestead and undertakes a very complex form of mourning in her grandmother’s garden. Over the 200-plus pages of Sophie’s next 55 years, Zackheim introduces the novel’s major theme of art as a series of interments and disinterments, new ground being broken as old ground is plundered. Her postwar heroine displays ample pluck and depth of feeling in the face of trauma.