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In this captivating memoir, Anne Roiphe revisits the world of her childhood, which was spent growing up in a rich, Jewish family who resided in New York during the 1940's and 1950's. Through her eyes, we witness the atrocities of her unfaithful father, the miseries of her insecure mother and the sufferings of her sickly brother, who eventually meet their end in different, tragic ways and leave her alone to deal with painful memories of the past.
Luminous and intensely personal, Art and Madness recounts the lost years of Anne Roiphe's twenties, when the soon-to-be-critically-acclaimed author put her dreams of becoming a writer on hold to devote herself to the magnetic but coercive male artists of the period. Coming of age in the 1950s, Roiphe, the granddaughter of Jewish immigrants, grew up on Park Avenue and had an adolescence defined by privilege, petticoats, and social rules. At Smith College her classmates wore fraternity pins on their cashmere sweaters and knit argyle socks for their boyfriends during lectures. Young women were expected to give up personal freedom for devotion to home and children. Instead, Roiphe chose Beckett, Proust, Sartre, and Mann as her heroes and sought out the chaos of New York's White Horse Tavern and West End Bar. She was unmoored and uncertain, "waiting for a wisp of truth, a feather's brush of beauty, a moment of insight." Salvation came in the form of a brilliant playwright whom she married and worked to support, even after he left her alone on their honeymoon and later pawned her family silver, china, and pearls. Her near-religious belief in the power of art induced her to overlook his infidelity and alcoholism, and to dutifully type his manuscripts in place of writing her own. During an era that idolized its male writers, she became, sometimes with her young child in tow, one of the girls draped across the sofa at parties with George Plimpton, Terry Southern, Doc Humes, Norman Mailer, Peter Matthiessen, and William Styron. In the Hamptons she socialized with Larry Rivers, Jack Gelber and other painters and sculptors. "Moderation for most of us is a most unnatural condition . . . . I preferred to burn out like a brilliant firecracker." But while she was playing the muse reality beckoned, forcing her to confront the notion that any sacrifice was worth making for art. Art and Madness recounts the fascinating evolution of a time when art and alcohol and rebellion caused collateral damage and sometimes produced extraordinary work. In clear-sighted, perceptive, and unabashed prose, Roiphe shares with astonishing honesty the tumultuous adventure of self-discovery that finally led to her redemption.From the Hardcover edition.
Anne Roiphe was not quite seventy years old when her husband of nearly forty years unexpectedly passed away. But it was not until her daughters placed a personal ad in a literary journal that Roiphe began to consider the previously unimagined possibility of a new man. Eloquent and astute, moving between heartbreaking memories of her marriage and the pressing needs of a new day-to-day routine, Epilogue takes us on her journey into the unknown world of life after love.
Acclaimed author Anne Roiphe evokes the sights and sounds of 1880s Alexandria, Egypt, a bustling center of trade and travel. From teeming docks to overflowing market stalls, from grand homes to grimy narrow alleyways, cholera microbes rise and bob in streams of water and tiny droplets, clinging to moisture as man clings to air. With a keen mind and dedication to his work, young Louis Thuillier has impressed his mentor--famed scientist Louis Pasteur--enough to be sent to Alexandria as one-third of the French mission searching for the source of the cholera that is terrorizing the city. Along with the other members of the French mission--scientists Emile Roux and Edmond Nocard and their enterprising servant Marcus--Louis longs to find the cure, bringing glory to himself and to France. Este Malina is the lovely daughter of a respected Jewish doctor, whose family has lived in Alexandria for hundreds of years. A life of comfort has made Este a romantic, and she hopes to marry a man with the heart of a poet. Neither expects to find a soul mate in the other, but when Este begins to assist at the French mission's lab, a deep bond forms. Este, though, is engaged to another, and Louis is not Jewish--her family would never allow them to marry. In spite of their many differences, the lovers' desire grows and their fantasies threaten to distract them from their work. In Alexandria, the disease rages on, as mysterious as it was a thousand years before. Political intrigue threatens to separate Este and Louis permanently. Their love, as fragile as the glass slides they use in the lab, is in danger before it has had a chance to thrive. With An Imperfect Lens, rich with the sights and scents of a different era, Anne Roiphe once again demonstrates the storytelling power for which she has long been hailed. From the Hardcover edition.
Secrets of the Cityis celebrated author Anne Roiphe's brilliant novel about a big-city mayor and the struggles that shape the fortunes of his city, the life of his family, and the condition of his soul. Mel Rosenberg is the mayor of a city uncannily similar to New York, which is experiencing a string of unusual attacks. But first he must contend with the pressures of his imperfect family--a shop-lifting daughter-in-law, an ungrateful son obsessed with status, an insecure daughter with a troubled marriage--not to mention a sexy, aggressive newspaper reporter who aims desperately to be his mistress. And despite his best efforts, he becomes entangled in a high-profile political scandal that could ambush his aspirations to be the first Jewish president of the United States. Secrets of the Cityis a spirited, engaging story written with humor, tenderness, and shrewd insight, featuring characters who explore issues that are as contemporary as they are timeless. "Inventive and ambitious. . . There's more than enough intrigue here to snare a reader's attention. . . . Imparts a worthy message about prejudice and tolerance. "--New York Times Book Review "Fast-paced. . . Roiphe nicely conveys the frantic pressures of city life, the endless appetite of the media, the frenzied pitch of threats, denials, deceit, despair. " -Boston Globe
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