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* Lew’s comments on “The Jewish King Lear” by Jacob Gordin

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 8, 2015

Yiddish King Lear & Untitled Novel

This is a wonderful introduction to Yiddish theater in eastern Europe and New York, seen through the prism of the playwright Jacob Gordin and his play “The Jewish King Lear,” written in 1891 when it was not unusual to adapt plays from the European repertoire into Yiddish. The play was first performed on the New York stage in 1892, during the height of a massive emigration of 2.5 million Jews from eastern Europe to America.

Gordin’s setting is the celebration of Purim and the plot shows the shifting of fortune between the older and younger generation, between traditionalism and modernity, between religion and secularism. In Gordin’s view, the transition taking place on the stage is also taking place in the audience, as parents are suffering when their children no longer honor them.

Notes by Ruth Gay and Sophie Glazer convey Yiddish secular theater as a thrilling seductive experience, arousing passionate responses from audiences who saw portrayals of tension-filled situations presented in everyday language.

Also described is “Sappho,” another play by Gordin, which presents out-of-wedlock pregnancy and a proud statement by the heroine Sophia: “I made a mistake; it is nobody’s business; I take full responsibility; if I am to be a mother, I can care for my child by myself; I will be free and honorable in my actions, honorable the way I understand it, not Aunt Frade’s way and Uncle Melekh’s and all the rest.”

In my new novel, I’m hoping to show the impact of Gordin’s modern thinking and the spectacle of a riveting performance in the shtetl of Ciechanow, when a play written and first produced in America returns forty years later to its roots in eastern Europe.

***

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* a poem by Chaim Nahman Bialik

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 5, 2015

Chaim Nahman Bialik

I extracted several lines from one of C. N. Bialik’s poems, written in the early 1900s, that beautifully express the feelings of the young Polish girl who is one of the two major fictional characters in my novel-in-progress …

Distant islands, lofty worlds
of our dreams,
they made us into strangers
wherever we went.
They made our lives hell.

Golden islands we thirsted for
as for a homeland,
all the stars hinted
at them
with trembling light.

And on these islands we remain
friendless, like two flowers
in a desert, two lost souls searching
for an eternal loss
in a foreign land.

***

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Lew’s comments on David Vital’s “A People Apart”

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 27, 2015

a people apart & an untitled novel

I have only read a small part of Vital’s book, those chapters dealing with Jewish life in the years between Versailles (1919) and the invasion of Poland (1939), but there were several important insights in those chapters that have great relevance for my novel-in-process. In particular, Vital describes a change in the way European Jews were viewed …

  • the norms of political behavior set by the (19th c) Enlightenment had dissolved
  • post-Versailles antisemitism had a great deal to do with what had been decided at Versailles
  • two related sets of conflicts spread across Europe
    • (1) between those who wished to preserve the Versailles settlement versus those who wished to destroy it
    • (2) between extreme nationalists who promoted the interests of their country to the status of a self-serving moral imperative and their more moderate opponents
  • very little was now heard of a need to bring the Jews into accord with other citizens … of ridding the Jews of their faults of superstition, dress and customs 
  • what was now wanted was
    • (1) removal of Jews from the societal, economic, academic and political structures into which Jews had already been admitted
    • (2) removal from society
    • (3) physical removal from the country altogether
  • for Jewish leaders … the problem was not (as had been expected) to build on the foundations established at by the Enlightenment and enhanced at Versailles … but how to keep these foundations from being completely washed away

I don’t think Vital says it exactly this way, but it seems to me that the changes he describes were very much a backlash against the progress Jews had made after gaining civil rights throughout Europe. Increased Jewish competition with the Christian population in all economic spheres was feared and resented.

This is precisely what happened in Spain after the forced conversion of Jews around 1400 unleashed Jewish competition and then a backlash that led to the Spanish Inquisition and the Expulsion. I have written about these times in Spain in my novel THE HERETIC

 The Heretic (Hereje)

***

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* Lew’s comments on “The King of Children” by Betty Jean Lifton

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 25, 2015

King of Children & An Untitled Novel

There are many tears to be shed for the way Janusz Korczak died, marching at the head of his final group of orphans off to a German death camp, but one cannot fail to be thrilled by the way he lived. For 30 years, he ran an orphanage in Warsaw, out of love for the children he was able to care for and as a means to study what worked and what didn’t in the interaction with children. His ideas – a court system run by the children, a newspaper written and largely managed by the children – are astonishingly on target, even today.

Betty Lifton did a superb job of capturing the emotion and the quality of Korczak’s work.

I have already written one scene in my novel-in-progress where Anna Gorska (my main fictional Polish character) shares a pre-Hanukah play session at the orphanage, and I have now outlined another 3-4 scenes involving Korczak and the children that I think will help me communicate the great richness of the world of Polish Jewry, the memory of which has survived even the German attempt to eradicate it.

Here are some of my notes …

… children’s court … not an instant success … children did not want to tattle … finally got going … counselors as prosecutor and defense attorney; three children as judges .. any child could bring a suit against another child … Korczak learning as he watched

… using the orphanage as a laboratory, Korczak wanted to work out an educational diagnostic system … children to run their own parliament, court and newspaper … a moral education based on respect for others as a prelude to self-respect

… Korczak launched an orphanage newspaper … each Saturday, he would read aloud his special column of the week … “do you remember, when you first came here, you didn’t have any friends, and you felt sad and lonely”

Korczak’s books, fiction and non-fiction, are all worth reading, especially these … King Matt the FirstKaytek the WizardLoving Every Child: Wisdom for Parents

***

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* Lew’s comments on “There Once Was a World” by Yaffa Eliach

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 23, 2015

There Once Was a World & An Untitled Novel

This is an absolutely marvelous compendium of detailed insights into Jewish life in Polish shtetls before the holocaust. Although focused on Eishyshok, much applies to other shtetls as well.

I am well along in my new novel set in Germany and Poland during the Nazi years. Recently, though, in re-reading some of what I had written, and comparing it with scenes from my earlier novel The Heretic, I began to feel that I was not adequately capturing the emotion that is my goal. I realized that I had been (necessarily) immersed in scenes about Hitler’s rise to the Chancellorship and I understood what I was feeling, which I can summarize as “too many Nazis, not enough Jews.” It is the Jews who bring the emotion to my story, as they watch from Poland, fearful, hopeful, uncertain and confused.

Yaffa Eliach’s book is my cure. Its 800+ pages captures the sense of the shtetl, facing the future that was never to be. Without a trace of hyperbole or any hint of the maudlin, Eliach paints a warm and enduring picture of people who did not live to paint it themselves. A vibrant culture for centuries, Polish Jewry struggled with the dilemmas of the 20th century, balancing Haskalah and Zionism, secular studies and Talmud, open lives and closed. So much potential, which we all know was never to be realized.

Eliach captures it all, the mind and the heart. Now my job is to weave aspects of the lives that created that emotion into my story

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* Hubert Wolf’s chapter on the Reich Concordat is more apologetics than history

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 15, 2015

Pope and Devil & Untitled Novel
Rarely have I been so angry about a book as I now am with this one. After earlier chapters with which I had no quarrel (praised in my earlier comments previously posted) I have now read the chapter dealing with the Concordat signed by the German Reich and the Vatican in 1933. The following sequence of events seems not to be in controversy.

  • The Vatican (Cardinal Pacelli) had been seeking a Reich Concordat for almost a decade before Hitler became Chancellor
  • Pacelli had concluded there was no chance of reaching an agreement with the democratic parliament (Reichstag); only a dictator like Hitler could offer such a deal
  • Hitler was appointed Chancellor on January 30, 1933
  • Hitler failed, in elections held on March 5, 1933, to achieve the two-thirds majority needed to pass an Enabling Act which would make him an absolute dictator
  • the Enabling Act thus required the votes of the Catholic Center Party to become law
  • the Center Party, and the German bishops, had adamantly opposed the Nazis for years, including in the March 5 elections
  • on March 23, 1933, the Enabling Act was passed, with all Center Party delegates voting for it, a stunningly sudden reversal of their earlier position
  • a few days later, the German bishops reversed their long-standing admonitions against the Nazi Party. A Party whose principles had been judged completely incompatible with Catholicism was now viewed quite differently … “Catholic Christians, for whom the opinion of their Church is sacred, need no particular admonition to be loyal to the legally constituted authorities, to fulfill their civic duties conscientiously, and to reject absolutely any illegal or revolutionary activity.” … in other words, it is now permissible for Catholics to be Nazis and to support the Nazi Party
  • shortly thereafter, a Concordat was entered into between Germany and Rome
  • a few months later, the Center Party was dissolved, leaving the Nazi Party the only legal political party in Germany

Wolf does not disagree with any of the above facts.

However, he asserts that Cardinal Pacelli was NOT involved in the Center Party’s consent to the Enabling Act, or in the declaration by the bishops, or even with the idea of a Concordat.

Wolf asserts that all initiative for those fateful decisions came from the Center Party delegates or the German bishops. He supports this assertion by stating that there is no evidence in Church archives that the initiative for any of these events came from Rome.

Wolf is correct that there is no documentation so far released by the Vatican to implicate Pacelli in the actions of the Center delegates or the bishops.

There is voluminous evidence from other sources, however, that Pacelli was continually negotiating with Hitler regarding the proposed Concordat, through Prelate Kaas for sure and perhaps directly with Goering.

There is also considerable evidence that the last minute votes by the Center delegates, and the recanting of the German bishops’ fierce admonitions against Nazism, were ordered by Pacelli and were carried out by obedient Catholics for whom the option to disobey Rome did not exist.

Wolf actually cites some of this evidence, before reaching his opposing and unsupported conclusion that Pacelli was not involved, which he bases solely on Pacelli’s later, self-serving statements to that effect, which statements I believe are blatant lies.

Wolf’s chapter is not history. It is apologetics, perhaps with the intent of trying to preserve a portion of the unsavory reputation of Pacelli, later Pius XII, who is even now being considered for sainthood by the Catholic Church.

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* Lew’s comments on “Fists of Steel”

Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 18, 2015

fists of steel + Anna's Challenge

An excellent source book on illegal German rearmament, begun immediately after their defeat in WWI and clearly aimed at rebuilding an offensive war-making capability.

Consider this chilling description of a protocol for panzer attacks, developed in 1932 before Germany had the tanks to carry it out.

“Guderian envisioned a panzer thrust … led by reconnaissance troops on motorcycles probing for weak spots in the enemy line … reporting by radio to a command post … tanks would roll up for the breakthrough … once they penetrated they would keep going, plunging deep into enemy territory to strike at command, communication and supply centers … infantry would follow in trucks to secure the flanks as the tanks forged ahead … a sharp surgical strike at the foe’s central nervous system, designed to paralyze.”

Guderian led the panzer assault on Poland in 1939.

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* Lew’s comments on Mommsen’s WEIMAR DEMOCRACY … research for Lew’s novel in progress

Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 5, 2015

Mommsen + Anna's Challenge

***

Mommsen provides outstanding detail, especially about the undermining of the Weimar Republic by those who could have made it work and thus kept Hitler from power.

Democracy is always difficult, and conditions in Germany after WWI made it particularly hard to sustain the compromise and cooperation needed for a democracy to be governed well. The details and the situations are very different, but still there are many frightening parallels to the US today. Consider these excerpts from Mommsen …

… neither (President) Hindenburg nor (Chancellor) Bruning was ever prepared to invite the SPD (Socialists) to join the government … thus precluding a return to parliamentary government

… Strasser failed to recognize that Hitler was determined to avoid clear political positions and sought instead to commit the party (and Germany) to a messianic faith in his own leadership abilities

… those social groups that supported the Nazis were those who felt threatened with a loss of social status … they were not succeeding in middle class careers and were insecure

… Goebbels was intent on portraying Hitler as “our last best hope” … decisive for party cohesion … pounded into public consciousness at every opportunity … Nazi election campaigns were conducted with energy and professionalism

… (by mid 1932) the Nazi Party had exhausted its voter potential … the lack of visible achievements was causing an erosion of support … a growing number of resignations form the party … reduced financial contributions … mounting internal criticism of Hitler’s political course

… Fritz Gerlich and Ingbert Naab, editors of Der gerade Weg, criticized the confusion of the Catholic parties … which failed to take Hitler’s “absolute will to evil” seriously … the Catholic Center Party made it clear that it would not support a presidential cabinet led by Papen

… Hindenburg met with all party leaders except SPD, since Papen categorically refused to deal with SPD

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* this wonderful Princeton Alumni Weekly article about John McPhee captures many of the feelings that make writing such a satisfying pleasure for me

Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 26, 2014

https://paw.princeton.edu/issues/2014/11/12/pages/3295/index.xml

McPhee-lede

John McPhee

***

Writing with the Master

By Joel Achenbach ’82 … Published in the November 12, 2014, issue of the Princeton Alumni Weekly

***

For Princeton journalists, praise from John McPhee was — and is — the ultimate reward

John McPhee ’53 has many moves as a writer, one of which he calls a “gossip ladder” — nothing more than a stack of quotations, each its own paragraph, unencumbered by attribution or context. You are eavesdropping in a crowd. You take these scraps of conversation and put them in a pile. Like this:

“A piece of writing needs to start somewhere, go somewhere, and sit down when it gets there.”

“Taking things from one source is plagiarism; taking things from several sources is research.”

“A thousand details add up to one impression.”

“You cannot interview the dead.” 

“Readers are not supposed to see structure. It should be as invisible as living bones. It shouldn’t be imposed; structure arises within the story.”

“Don’t start off with the most intense, scary part, or it will all be anticlimactic from there.”

“You can get away with things in fact that would be tacky in fiction — and stuck on TV at 3 o’clock in the morning. Sometimes the scene is carried by the binding force of fact.”

The speaker in every instance is John McPhee. I assembled this particular ladder from the class notes of Amanda Wood Kingsley ’84, an illustrator and writer who, like me, took McPhee’s nonfiction writing class, “The Literature of Fact,” in the spring of 1982. In February, McPhee will mark 40 years as a Princeton professor, which he has pulled off in the midst of an extraordinarily productive career as a staff writer for The New Yorker and the author of more than two dozen books.

When the editor of this magazine asked me to write something about McPhee’s class, I knew it would be the easiest assignment ever, though a little nerve-wracking. It was, because most of McPhee’s former students have saved their class notes and marked-up papers (Marc Fisher ’80: “I’ve never lived anywhere without knowing where my notes from his class are”).

When I meet Rick Klein ’98 at a coffee shop down the block, we examine forensically Rick’s class papers and the McPhee marginalia, the admonitions and praise from a teacher who keeps his pencils sharp. McPhee never overlooked a typo, and when Rick (now the hotshot political director at ABC News) wrote “fowl” instead of “foul,” the professor’s pencil produced a devastating noose.

McPhee’s greatest passion was for structure, and he required that students explain, in a few sentences at the end of every assignment, how they structured the piece.

(McPhee noted on a piece Rick wrote about his father: “This is a perfect structure — simple, like a small office building, as you suggest. The relationship of time to paragraphing is an example of what building a piece of writing is all about.”)

Rick reminds me that the class was pass/fail.

“You were competing not for a grade, but for his approval. You were so scared to turn in a piece of writing that John McPhee would realize was dirt. We were just trying to impress a legend,” he says.

Which is the nerve-wracking part, still. He is likely to read this article and will notice the infelicities, the stray words, the unnecessary punctuation, the galumphing syntax, the desperate metaphors, and the sentences that wander into the woods. “They’re paying you by the comma?” McPhee might write in the margin after reading the foregoing sentence. My own student work tended toward the self-conscious, the cute, and the undisciplined, and McPhee sometimes would simply write: “Sober up.”

He favors simplicity in general, and believes a metaphor needs room to breathe.

“Don’t slather one verbal flourish on top of another lest you smother them all,” he’d tell his students. On one of Amanda’s papers, he numbered the images, metaphors, and similes from 1 to 11, and then declared, “They all work well, to a greater or lesser degree. In 1,300 words, however, there may be too many of them — as in a fruitcake that is mostly fruit.”

When Amanda produced a verbose, mushy description of the “Oval with Points” sculpture on campus, McPhee drew brackets around one passage and wrote, “Pea soup.”

That one was a famously difficult assignment: You had to describe a piece of abstract art on campus. It was an invitation to overwriting. As McPhee put it, “Most writers do a wild skid, leave the road, and plunge into the dirty river.”

Novice writers believe they will improve a piece of writing by adding things to it; mature writers know they will improve it by taking things out.

Another standard McPhee assignment came on Day One of the class: Pair up and interview each other, then write a profile. It was both an early test of our nonfiction writing skills and a clever way for McPhee to get to know his students at the beginning of the semester.

McPhee’s dedication to his students was, and is, remarkable, given the other demands on his time. One never got the sense that he wished he could be off writing a magazine story for The New Yorker rather than annotating, and discussing face-to-face, a clumsy, ill-conceived, syntactically mangled piece of writing by a 20-year-old.

He met with each of his 16 students for half an hour every other week. Many of his students became professional writers, and he lined up their books on his office shelf, but McPhee never has suggested that the point of writing is to make money, or that the merit of your writing is determined by its market value. A great paragraph is a great paragraph wherever it resides, he’d say. It could be in your diary.

“I think he loves it when students run off and become field biologists in Africa or elementary school teachers,” Jenny Price ’85 tells me. She’s now a writer, artist, and visiting Princeton professor.

McPhee taught us to revere language, to care about every word, and to abjure the loose synonym. He told us that words have subtle and distinct meanings, textures, implications, intonations, flavors. (McPhee might say: “Nuances” alone could have done the trick there.)

Use a dictionary, he implored. He proselytized on behalf of the gigantic, unabridged Webster’s Second Edition, a tank of a dictionary that not only would give a definition, but also would explore the possible synonyms and describe how each is slightly different in meaning. If you treat these words interchangeably, it’s like taping together adjacent keys on a piano, he said.

Robert Wright ’79, an acclaimed author and these days a frequent cycling companion of McPhee, tells me by email, “I’d be surprised if there have been many or even any Ferris professors who care about words as much as John — I don’t mean their proper use so much as their creative, deft use, sometimes in a way that exploits their multiple meanings; he also pays attention to the rhythm of words. All this explains why some of his prose reads kind of like poetry.”

Just to write a simple description clearly can take you days, he taught us (once again I’m citing Amanda’s class notes): “If you do it right, it’ll slide by unnoticed. If you blow it, it’s obvious.”

We had to learn to read. One of his assignments is called “greening.” You pretend you are in the composing room slinging hot type and need to remove a certain amount of the text block to get it to fit into an available space. You must search the text for words that can be removed surgically.

“It’s as if you were removing freight cars here and there in order to shorten a train — or pruning bits and pieces of a plant for aesthetic and pathological reasons, not to mention length,” McPhee commanded. “Do not do violence to the author’s tone, manner, style, nature, thumbprint.”

He made us green a couple of lines from the famously lean Gettysburg Address, an assignment bordering on sadism. A favorite paragraph designated for greening was the one in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness that begins, “Going up that river was like traveling back to the earliest beginnings of the world, when vegetation rioted on the earth and the big trees were kings. An empty stream, a great silence, an impenetrable forest. The air was warm, thick, heavy, sluggish. There was no joy in the brilliance of sunshine.” (McPhee, in assigning this, wrote: “Caution: You are approaching what may be my favorite paragraph in a lifetime of sporadic reading.”)

One time the young Bob Wright used the word “minced” in an assignment. In their bi-weekly office conference, McPhee challenged Bob to justify the word. Bob offered his reasoning. McPhee looked up “minced” in the hulking Webster’s. “You found the perfect word,” McPhee declared.

McPhee’s career coincided with the rise of “New Journalism,” but he never was really part of that movement and the liberties it took with the material. A college student often feels that rules are suffocating, that old-school verities need to be obliterated, and so some of us were tempted, naturally, to enhance our nonfiction — to add details from the imagination and produce a work of literature that’s better than “true” and existed on a more exalted plane of meaning. We’d make things up. McPhee wouldn’t stand for it.

Amanda remembers being called into his office one day: “I could tell something was wrong because he wasn’t his usual smiling self. He had me sit down and glared at me a moment. Then he asked me very sternly whether I had made up the character I had allegedly interviewed for my paper that week about animal traps and snares — I’d talked to an elderly African American friend of my grandparents, whose snare-building skills helped him survive the Depression. Once I convinced him that Oscar was a real person, McPhee sat quietly a moment, then smiled and said it was one of the best papers he had received. Those were some of the finest words I’ll ever hear.”

Perhaps there are writers out there who make it look easy, but that is not the example set by McPhee. He is of the school of thought that says a writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than for other people.

Some people joke about lashing themselves to the chair to get a piece of writing done, but McPhee actually has done it, with the belt of his bathrobe.

Here’s David Remnick ’81, the McPhee student who is now McPhee’s editor atThe New Yorker: “You were working with a practicing creative artist, a writer of ‘primary texts,’ as the scholars say, but one who was eloquent, detailed, unfancy, and clear in the way he talked about essential things: description, reporting, structure, sentences, punctuation, rhythm, to say nothing of the emotional aspects of writing — anxiety, lostness, frustration. He didn’t sugarcoat the difficulty of writing well. If anything, he highlighted the bitter-tasting terrors, he cherished them, rolled them around on his tongue. But behind all that was an immensely revealing, and rewarding, glimpse of the writing life. Not the glamour or the readings or the reviews. No, he allowed you to glimpse the process, what it meant to write alone in a room.”

Marc Fisher, my Washington Post colleague, points out that part of McPhee’s magic was getting students to slow down. “He catches adolescents at exactly the moment when we’ve been racing to get somewhere in life, and he corrals our ambition and raw skills and somehow persuades us that the wisdom, the power, and the mystery of telling people’s stories comes in good part from pressing down on the brakes, taking it all in, and putting it down on paper — yes, paper — in a way that is true to the people we meet and the lives they lead.”

I doubt many of us ever took a class that resonated so profoundly over the years. Part of it was that McPhee felt invested in our later success, regardless of our vocations. You could knock on his door years later and confer with him about your writing, your personal issues, your hopes and dreams. How many teachers are willing to be Professor For Life?

These are tough times in my business, which the people in suits now refer to as “content creation.” Revolutionary changes in how we consume information have created challenges for anyone who is committed to serious, time-consuming writing, the kind that involves revision and the search for that perfect word.

But I don’t think anyone can obliterate the beauty of a deftly constructed piece of writing. This is particularly the case if you’ve written it yourself. It’s like hitting a great golf shot; you forget the shanks and slices and remember the one exquisite 3-iron.

One day in McPhee’s class, he praised a sentence I’d written about the Louise Nevelson sculpture “Atmosphere and Environment X,” near Firestone Library. He had me read it aloud. The hook was set. I don’t always think about it consciously, but that’s pretty much what I’ve been trying to do for more than three decades — write another sentence that might win the approval of John McPhee.

***

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* Lew’s review (and thoughts for new novel) after reading Legacies of Dachau

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 30, 2014

 

Legacies of Dachau & An Untitled Novel

Marcuse provides an excellent detailed study of Dachau when it was a concentration camp from 1933-45, and its continuing role as a reminder of the German depravity. 

There were several points regarding the postwar use that fit well with the observations my wife and I made at the “Terror and Fascination” exhibit in Nuremberg, which to our eyes was in many ways a glorification of Hitler. I am still frustrated that I have not been able to induce any reputable historian or journalist to visit the exhibit and see if they agree with the serious deficiencies I summarized on my author blog at … https://lewweinsteinauthorblog.com/201…

One quote from Marcuse regarding Dachau is almost identical to a video we saw in Nuremberg … one housewife exonerated Hitler … most Germans weren’t involved … Der Fuhrer couldn’t have know about it … he would not have permitted such suffering.

Marcuse also reports how the 1979 TV documentary HOLOCAUST brought challenges and changes to the three German myths of IGNORANCE, VICTIMIZATION & RESISTANCE … making possible a change in West German’s recollection of their Nazi past … the impact of HOLOCAUST reflected changes that had been building for several years as younger Germans increasingly questioned their parents and doubted their rationalizations.

RELEVANCE to my new novel …

Thoughts provoked by Marcuse’s book have turned into potential scenes and conflicts involving the characters in my novel-in-progress. Although the “story” of my book takes place between 1923 and 1945, the main characters are also involved in 1990 through what I am calling “interludes.” These interludes allow knowledge beyond the story and reflection by the characters on what they, Germany and the world learned from the Nazi experience.

***

Posted in * A FLOOD OF EVIL ... Lew's novel-in-progress, ** NAZI CENTER - Nuremberg, *** Uncategorized | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

* Chuck’s Goodreads review of THE HERETIC

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 3, 2014

Heretic & Hereje

THE HERETIC … English & Spanish editions

Chuck’s review …

The author, Lewis Weinstein, is one of my Goodreads friends. Outstanding job, Lew.

Historical fiction is my favorite genre and this is historical fiction of the first order. It is very well written, exhaustively researched and historically accurate. This book increased my knowledge of the religious conflict in 15th century Spain by one hundred fold.

The folks writing positive acknowledgements about the book include Elie Wiesel, Alan Dershowitz and Faye Kellerman.

 The Heretic tells the story from the viewpoint of Gabrel Catalan, a Jewish goldsmith whose ancestors were forced to convert to Christianity under threat of death and, as a result, were known as Conversos. The story lays out the events leading to the infamous Spanish Inquisition.

Mr. Weinstein does a great job of introducing his characters and making them into real people. I heartily recommend it.

THANK YOU, CHUCK!

Posted in * THE HERETIC, *** Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

* “Case Closed” Author Discusses FBI Anthrax Cover-up and Possible Al-Qaeda Involvement

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 6, 2014

Here is an interview I did in 2010 regarding

the FBI’s failed case against Bruce Ivins

and the need for the American people to know the truth.

Author Photo 2012

 

***

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zI69unuq6A

***

My novel CASE CLOSED, a fictional scenario I invented in 2008

with no research and no special knowledge, seems each day

to move closer to the truth than the FBI’s unprovable assertions.

CC - front cover for Create Space

purchase CASE CLOSED at …

http://www.amazon.com/Case-Closed-Lewis-M-Weinstein/dp/1595943188/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1394155296&sr=8-1&keywords=weinstein+case+closed

***

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* Father Edward Flannery: Christians must come to full recognition of the huge crime committed by Christianity against the Jews (research for Lew’s novel-in-progress)

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 25, 2014

anguish of the jews

***

Father Edward Flannery, who died in 1998, was a Catholic priest who was the first director of Catholic-Jewish Relations for the U.S. Bishops’ Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, a position he held from 1967 to 1976. His book was published in 1965.

Flannery’s famous statement … “it is little exaggeration to state that those pages of history Jews have committed to memory are the very ones that have been torn from Christian history books” … was quoted by Dr. Eugene J. Fisher, his successor at the U.S. Bishops’ Committee, in Dr. Fisher’s comments praising my novel THE HERETIC for bringing those pages back to Christian view.

***

Father Flannery pulls no punches in his denunciation of the Catholic Church for its role in promulgating antisemitism and providing the foundation for Hitler’s Holocaust …

*** Pope Pius XII’s silence during the Holocaust rested on the acquiescence of the German episcopacy, which in turn rested on the still wider apathy or collusion with Nazism of German Catholics, themselves so ill prepared for any better response by accustomed antisemitic attitudes so often aided and abetted in the past by the Church itself … the Pope’s “subjects” in Germany were little prepared to heed any denunciations of Hitler and Nazism

*** Judaism lived on as a theological challenge to the Christian claim to be a new and true Israel … the threat of that challenge can hardly be overestimated

*** in the minds of the Church Fathers the only solution to the appeal of the old Israel was to discredit the Jew theologically … to depict the Jew as rejected, even cursed, by God … diabolical, the slayer of God Himself … antisemitism based on theological rivalry

*** modern racial antisemitism – as exemplified by the Nazi regime – would not have been possible without centuries of anti-Judaic and antisemitic precedents … from the beginning, Hitler had his target, the Jews, already set up, defenseless, and discredited

***

Flannery’s conclusion sets a monumental challenge

for contemporary Christians …

*** Christians must come to full recognition of the preponderant role played by the Christian churches in the development of antisemitism … and the huge crime committed by Christianity against the Jews … deplorable … should stain the souls of all Christians … antisemitism is a denial of Christian faith, a failure of Christian hope, a malady of Christian love.

***

The Heretic - for blog

http://www.amazon.com/Heretic-Lewis-M-Weinstein/dp/1475082843/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1393338540&sr=1-1&keywords=weinstein+heretic

***

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* the questions in this 4 year old video remained unanswered … the scenario of the 2001 anthrax attacks presented in my novel is still “more plausible” than the one asserted by the FBI … why do we still not know who perpetrated the 2001 anthrax attacks?

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 13, 2014

I first posted these questions to YouTube 4 years ago. The questions have not been answered. Meanwhile, the FBI’s case against Dr. Bruce Ivins has been totally demolished on my Case Closed blog (over 323,000 clicks so far) …

http://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/  

… but the FBI has never responded to any of these issues, continuing to assert an impossible set of allegations. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) says it is conducting a review of the FBI’s investigation, but they are years behind their initially communicated completion date. Nobody seems to care.

My novel CASE CLOSED presents a scenario which many, including a highly placed member of our Intelligence Community, say is “more plausible” than the one still put forward by the FBI.

CC - front cover for Create Space

I can imagine three reasons for the FBI’s failure to adjust its views

in the face of overwhelming refutation of its position …

  1. The FBI has more evidence against Dr. Ivins but is, for some undisclosed reason, withholding that evidence … POSSIBLE BUT NOT SO LIKELY
  2. The FBI, despite the most expensive and extensive investigation in its history, has not solved the case and has no idea who prepared and mailed the anthrax letters that killed 5 Americans in 2001 … EVEN LESS LIKELY
  3. The FBI knows who did it (not Dr. Ivins) but is covering up the actual perpetrators, for undisclosed reasons … THE MOST LIKELY SCENARIO

This case is definitely not closed!

***

purchase CASE CLOSED at amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Case-Closed-failed-solve-anthrax/dp/1475131801/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392300941&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=cse+closed+weinstein

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* talking about books at DUVAL lunch

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 7, 2014

Lew at DUVAL

***

I had the privilege today of addressing the DUVAL lunch group, of which I am a member, as part of our ongoing authors’ series. Out of 16 members of DUVAL, 8 are published authors, so this group always presents a humbling challenge. I talked briefly about my 4 published novels and then about my work in process. Our venue today was the deck at the Pier House, a longtime Key West locale for authors and drinkers.

5 novels - covers & praise

Posted in *** Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

* Thank you Goodreads & Facebook friends … one more week for special ebook prices

Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 24, 2013

one week left - author blog

***

The Heretic and the sequel The Pope’s Conspiracy …

available together as a single kindle edition

The Catalan Family Saga … $3.99

http://www.amazon.com/The-Catalan-Family-Saga-Conspiracy-ebook/dp/B0081TIHD4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1387889585&sr=8-1&keywords=weinstein+catalan

A Good Conviction … $3.99

http://www.amazon.com/Good-Conviction-Lewis-M-Weinstein/dp/1595941622/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1387889659&sr=8-1&keywords=weinstein+good+conviction

Cased Closed … $2.99

http://www.amazon.com/Case-Closed-failed-solve-anthrax/dp/1475131801/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1387889721&sr=8-1&keywords=weinstein+case+closed

***

Posted in *** Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

* my review of ANGRY DAYS is published in the Key West Citizen

Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 23, 2013

angry days 1

***

angry days 2

Posted in *** Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

* great prices on all kindle editions until Dec 31

Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 16, 2013

4 novels - no problem - author blog

***

Thank you, Goodreads and Facebook friends

To express my appreciation for all the pleasure I get from interacting with you on Goodreads and Facebook, I have instituted special kindle pricing for my Goodreads and Facebook friends, from now (as soon as amazon processes my pricing updates) 

 ***

Special kindle pricing will end 12/31/13 …

if my books are on your “to read” list, now is the time to buy

***

The Heretic and the sequel The Pope’s Conspiracy …

available together as a single kindle edition

The Catalan Family Saga … $3.99

***

A Good Conviction … $3.99

 ***

Cased Closed … $2.99

 ***

Read what others say about my novels …

***

The Heretic 

the secretly Jewish Catalan family seeking to avoid the persecution of the Church

Elie Wiesel …  

The Heretic is deeply absorbing … it helps Jews and Christians better understand their complex and often painful relationship.”

Alan M. Dershowitz … 

“The historical novel that is both true to the past and relevant to the present is rare indeed. The Heretic humanizes the tragic history of religious persecution.”

Laura (on Goodreads) … “Thank you Lewis Weinstein for this fabulous book! It moved me so deeply… I admire your art and your research. The Heretic educated me, and the Catalan family now lives in my heart.”

*** 

The Pope’s Conspiracy

 the surviving Catalan family in the Florence of Lorenzo de Medici  

Sherril Rhoades  … “The Pope’s Conspiracy brings the Renaissance alive. The story focuses on a young Jewish printer and his wife who become caught up in the political machinations of the Vatican

Carol (on amazon) … This is a powerful sequel to the Heretic. Another well researched, informative story with characters you care about and a story that keeps the reader engaged.

***

A Good Conviction

convicted of a murder he did not commit by a prosecutor who knew he was innocent

*This is a “page turner” and I loved every minute of it.

* What’s scary about Josh’s situation is that it’s entirely plausible.

* The courtroom scene moved quickly in a compelling manner.

* My heart is breaking for this kid

***

Case Closed

what might really have happened in the 2001 anthrax attacks … not what the FBI says

Rawy … The whole Anthrax episode is unquestionably a dark moment in American history. But what makes it fascinating is how it was handled (or should I say mishandled) by the administration and the various agency involved. The books is a must read for anyone who wondered what really happened? Who did it? and why? … and finally, why didn’t they tell us the truth.

Sherril Rhoades  … This scary scenario is as close to truth as fiction can come. Lew Weinstein is a meticulous researcher and a determined storyteller. This book will keep you up at night — reading, then worrying.

***

WELCOME TO MY AUTHOR BLOG … 

https://lewweinsteinauthorblog.com/

***

Posted in *** Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

* THE HERETIC & THE POPE’S CONSPIRACY … special ebook price of $3.99 (for a combined edition of both books) … until Dec 31 … a thank you for my Facebook and Goodreads friends

Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 13, 2013

$3.99 for both novels

purchase at amazon.com

The Catalan Family Saga – The Heretic & The Pope’s Conspiracy

***

special pricing until Dec 31 …

a thank you for all the pleasure I get

interacting with my

GOODREADS & FACEBOOK FRIENDS

***

learn more about THE HERETIC at …

* THE HERETIC

***

learn more about THE POPE’S CONSPIRACY at …

* THE POPE’S CONSPIRACY

***

4 novels + author

Posted in *** Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

* A GOOD CONVICTION … special ebook price of $3.99 until Dec 31 … a thank you for my Facebook and Goodreads friends

Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 10, 2013

Good Con viction - cover for blog

***

Joshua Blake went to New York expecting to enter law school. Instead, he has been arrested and convicted of a murder he did not commit. He wakes up in Sing SIng prison with a cellmate name Spider and desperately seeks to regain his once promising life.

Purchase ebook edition for $3.99 until Dec 31 …

http://www.amazon.com/Good-Conviction-Lewis-M-Weinstein-ebook/dp/B0035WU3VQ/ref=sr_1_1_bnp_1_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1386668309&sr=8-1&keywords=weinstein+a+good+conviction

Wrongful prosecution of a young man for a murder he did not commit is at the core of A Good Conviction. Joshua Blake has been sent to Sing Sing by a prosecutor who may have known he was innocent. Josh struggles to survive in an environment completely alien to anything he has ever known or even imagined. He befriends some inmates, and has brutal exchanges with others, as he is inescapably corrupted by prison life. All the while he tries to understand how this could have happened to him, and what he can now do to restore his once promising future. Josh is aided in his quest by his cellmate Spider, by the NYPD detective who arrested him, by two defense attorneys and a New York Daily News reporter who are infuriated by the miscarriage of justice perpetrated against him, and by Darlene, a hooker he meets on his first day in New York. He is forcefully opposed by Manhattan ADA Roger Claiborne, and by an uncaring criminal justice system that is loathe to admit a mistake. A Good Conviction is set in Manhattan, Rikers Island and Sing Sing.

***

Wrongful prosecution could happen to anyone.

It could happen to you.

Most Americans are comfortable in the belief that if they don’t commit a crime, they have no risk of going to jail. Unfortunately, that’s not always the way things are.

In addition to writing a compelling novel, Mr. Weinstein has put forth a wakeup call about a problem which plagues the American criminal justice system. While most prosecutors are honest and try to afford all defendants the fair trial to which they are entitled, far too many prosecutors fail to uphold this sacred obligation.

Most often, those prosecutors who cheat to get a conviction do so by suppressing evidence that goes against their case, evidence that would produce `reasonable doubt’ in a juror’s mind. Sometimes, they even conspire to make up evidence which alleges guilt, for instance by planting a “stoolie” who will then testify about admissions by the defendant which never happened.

Don’t believe it? Think it can’t happen in America, the land of justice for all?

Consider these damning reports by very credible organizations …

* The Chicago Tribune reported that 381 murder convictions were reversed because of police or prosecutorial misconduct. * Columbia Law School documented “chronic prosecutorial suppression of evidence of innocence.” * Barry Scheck et al (in Actual Innocence: When Justice Goes Wrong and How to Make it Right ) report numerous cases of prosecutorial misconduct, usually by suppression of evidence that would have proven innocence. * The book In Spite Of Innocence: Erroneous Convictions in Capital Cases , published by Northeastern University Press, cites 400 wrongful convictions. * The heart-wrenching play The Exonerated presents the true stories, in their own words, of seven persons who were wrongfully convicted

How likely is it there are many more such cases that have never come to significant public attention? Is it possible that what we do know is but the tip of the iceberg?

When you have read A Good Conviction, you will know that wrongful prosecution could happen to anyone. It could happen to you.

 ***

ENTHUSIASTIC READER COMMENTS

* This gripping story demonstrates how one’s life can take a 180 degree turn in a moment. Innocent actions can be misinterpreted and unfortunate consequences result. Weinstein is a great story teller and this is a very well crafted story.

* The characters and their emotions were so vividly portrayed that I still think about them as if I knew them. Lovers of New York City will walk the streets of the city and visualize “A Good Conviction” happening. You will walk past a certain news-stand and wonder if the owner remembers Josh. When you read a book that you don’t want to end….that is a good book. “A Good Conviction” is a good book.

* This is a “page turner” and I loved every minute of it. This author avoids the common fault I find with many mysteries: not having a good ending that leaves you satisfied. The main character is entirely believable and his circumstances are chilling: something that could happen to any one of us. The research behind this book and the author’s familiarity with legal procedures (which are not hard to follow in the book) are evident.

* Once I started reading, I couldn’t put the book down until it was finished – and that was in the wee hours of the morning! Weinstein allows the reader to feel the same anger, scare and frustration that Josh experiences, as we watch him become a victim of a corrupt DA. At the same time that we root for Josh to get justice, we are brought into the world of incarcerated criminals who fill their days with ways to survive. It’s a wild ride, and a story that I highly recommend.

* Having spent two years of a twenty year career with the NYPD transporting prisoners to and from Manhattan Central Booking, I read much of Mr. Weinstein’s book holding my breath. During those long 24 months I never got used to the sound of the cell doors sliding closed with a loud CLANG! Even knowing full well I would be leaving, it induced instant claustrophobia. Well, the scenes in this novel that take part on Riker’s Island brought that sound and more back to me with amazing clarity. If you want a glimpse into the hell that is American prison life, read this book.

* I am amazed at the research that Weinstein has done for both of his books. A Good Conviction, like The Heretic, is a real page turner with a lot of suspense. However, the book is more than just suspenseful. Weinstein illuminates an issue that is very serious and through a fictional account he sensitizes the reader to the plight of the many people who are incarcerated for crimes that they did not commit. I recommend the book highly and cannot wait for his next book.

* What a ride! A scary, yet thoroughly believable, journey through the police and court systems of New York City. Lewis Weinstein captures the tensions and fears of prison life so well, it’s hard to believe he hasn’t done hard time himself. It certainly makes you wonder how many innocent people are behind bars. Highly recommended!

* this is one of the few books that I could not put down and always looked forward to the next chapter! So many books have the tendency to be drawn out in the middle, but this one kept you on the edge throughout and you really did get to know every character. I love a book that when I read it I feel like I am living it and that can only be done by a talented writer. Thank You for the experience!

***

Posted in * A GOOD CONVICTION, *** Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

* great special KINDLE pricing on amazon.com for my Goodreads and Facebook friends … until 12/31/13

Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 8, 2013

4 novels + author

***

Thank you, Goodreads and Facebook friends

To express my appreciation for all the pleasure I get from interacting with you on Goodreads and Facebook, I have instituted special kindle pricing for my Goodreads and Facebook friends, from now (as soon as amazon processes my pricing updates) 

 ***

Special kindle pricing will end 12/31/13 …

if my books are on your “to read” list, now is the time to buy

***

The Heretic and the sequel The Pope’s Conspiracy

available together as a single kindle edition

The Catalan Family Saga … $3.99

***

A Good Conviction … $3.99

 ***

Cased Closed … $2.99

 ***

Read what others say about my novels …

***

The Heretic 

the secretly Jewish Catalan family seeking to avoid the persecution of the Church 

Elie Wiesel …  The Heretic is deeply absorbing … it helps Jews and Christians better understand their complex and often painful relationship.”

Alan M. Dershowitz … “The historical novel that is both true to the past and relevant to the present is rare indeed. The Heretic humanizes the tragic history of religious persecution.”

Laura (on Goodreads) … “Thank you Lewis Weinstein for this fabulous book! It moved me so deeply… I admire your art and your research. The Heretic educated me, and the Catalan family now lives in my heart.”

*** 

The Pope’s Conspiracy

 the surviving Catalan family in the Florence of Lorenzo de Medici  

Sherril Rhoades  … “The Pope’s Conspiracy brings the Renaissance alive. The story focuses on a young Jewish printer and his wife who become caught up in the political machinations of the Vatican

Carol (on amazon) … This is a powerful sequel to the Heretic. Another well researched, informative story with characters you care about and a story that keeps the reader engaged.

***

A Good Conviction

convicted of a murder he did not commit by a prosecutor who knew he was innocent 

*This is a “page turner” and I loved every minute of it.

* What’s scary about Josh’s situation is that it’s entirely plausible.

* The courtroom scene moved quickly in a compelling manner.

* My heart is breaking for this kid

***

Case Closed

what might really have happened in the 2001 anthrax attacks … not what the FBI says

Rawy … The whole Anthrax episode is unquestionably a dark moment in American history. But what makes it fascinating is how it was handled (or should I say mishandled) by the administration and the various agency involved. The books is a must read for anyone who wondered what really happened? Who did it? and why? … and finally, why didn’t they tell us the truth.

Sherril Rhoades  … This scary scenario is as close to truth as fiction can come. Lew Weinstein is a meticulous researcher and a determined storyteller. This book will keep you up at night — reading, then worrying.

***

WELCOME TO MY AUTHOR BLOG … 

https://lewweinsteinauthorblog.com/

***

***

Posted in *** Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

* Laura’s (5*****) review of THE HERETIC by Lew Weinstein

Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 3, 2013

The Heretic - for blog

.

.

.

Laura rated THE HERETIC 5 of 5 stars (on Goodreads) …

“Thank you Lewis Weinstein for this fabulous book! It moved me so deeply… I admire your art and your research. “The Heretic” educated me, and the Catalan family now lives in my heart.”

.

***

for links my 4 published novels

and my new novel in progress, CLICK >>>  

https://lewweinsteinauthorblog.com/welcome_to_my_author_blog/

***********************************

4 novels + author

Posted in * THE HERETIC, *** Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

* Ellis Katz’s (5*****) review of A GOOD CONVICTION by Lew Weinstein (on Goodreads)

Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 1, 2013

Good Con viction - cover for blog
.
Ellis’ review …
.
Poor Josh Blake. He just moved to NYC from Baltimore to begin law school at NYU. Before he has a chance to settle in, he is arrested for the Central Park murder of an elderly woman.
.
He is convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in Sing Sing.
.
Needless to say, he is completely innocent, but no one seems to care and it looks like he will spend the rest of his life in prison.
.
However, a detective, a reporter, a lawyer and a prostitute take his pleas of innocence seriously and set out to overturn his conviction. It is no easy task because the judges, the prosecutors and the police consider the case closed and just want to move onto the next case.
.
What happens to Josh? Read the book and find out, and learn something about the American criminal justice system at the same time. The book is face-paced and well-researched. It is a good read in every sense of the term.
.
.
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.
.

***

for links my 4 published novels and my new novel in progress, CLICK >>>  

https://lewweinsteinauthorblog.com/welcome_to_my_author_blog/

4 novels + author

Posted in *** Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

* Mike’s (5*****) review of THE POPE’S CONSPIRACY

Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 1, 2013

Pope's Conspiracy - cover for blog

.

excerpts from Mike’s review …

… The Pope’s Conspiracy is a great read which tightly binds the intrigue of a thriller with the lightness of a narrative history.

… the characters are extremely well depicted, both real and fictitious.

… Fans of historical fiction should read it as a thrilling introduction to a very interesting period in time

… fans of Renaissance history should read it as an accurate walking tour of Europe’s most important city of the day

… The book is set in 1478 in Florence, which was at that time approaching the zenith of its powers as an unrivaled artistic, scientific and financial centre. Rarely can an city on earth have laid a claim to have been so important in the development of the modern world.

… Into this world of political chess and creative mastery come the characters of Benjamin and Esther Catalan, whose story began with Lew Weinstein’s previous book, The Heretic.

The Heretic - for blog … https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/727093.The_Heretic

… the couple are immediately likable, faults and all, and that this leads the reader to hope that they avoid the perils of European Jewry of that age, which surround them from the very first page.

… this reader was left hungry to find a copy of The Heretic and find out more fully how Benjamin and Esther came to be in Florence.

… the story is captivating – clearly very thoroughly researched, balanced, and with a development and definition of character that sticks closely to known historical fact as much as possible while leaving room for enough to be changed to suit the direction of the plot without ruining the realism.

… There was also enough information on the every day lives of Jews five hundred years ago to open my interests in a new subject altogether, and the book certainly has a wealth to offer in that respect.

***

for links my 4 published novels and my new novel in progress, CLICK >>>  

https://lewweinsteinauthorblog.com/welcome_to_my_author_blog/

4 novels + author

Posted in *** Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

* writing in a Paris cafe … a scene in my new novel … tentatively titled NO EXIT

Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 27, 2013

La favorite (1)

Here I am at one of our favorite cafes, called La Favorite, a few steps from our apartment, having morning coffee and croissant, working on my novel. What I’m doing is watching the 1930 movie “All Quiet on the Western Front,” while taking notes for the scene I’m working on.

***

Posted in * A FLOOD OF EVIL ... Lew's novel-in-progress, *** Uncategorized | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

* Lew’s review of The International Jew by Henry Ford … research for my 5th novel

Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 1, 2013

??????????

Henry Ford … bigot

I’m only about 20% into this disgusting series of tirades published in a paper Ford owned. Probably the rest is more of the same. It seems to me that Ford’s loathing and fear of Jews matches that of Hitler, who had a life-size portrait of Ford in his Munich office.

.

Henry Ford was a very successful man.

What drove him to write this? What was he afraid of?

Where in his background or education did this fear come from?

.

Ford wrote 91 articles bashing the Jews in the 1920s, received much criticism at the time, and never changed his position or apologized then. He also got an award from Hitler, I think in 1937.

.

Henry Ford was a disgusting bigot who spread his views widely,

and surely contributed to America’s shameful failure to lift a single finger

to save Jews on their way to the ovens.

He spread the same message in the U.S.

as Hitler did in Germany.

.

Here are some excerpts from what I have read so far.

• (the) International Jew and his satellites (are) the conscious enemies of all that Anglo-Saxons mean by civilization
• The Jew is the world’s enigma. Poor in his masses, he yet controls the world’s finances.
• there are ancient prophecies to the effect that the Jew will return to his own land and from that center rule the world
• The Jews’ enemies were always stripping them of their last ounce of wealth, yet strangely, the Jews recovered very quickly and were soon rich again.
• This distribution of the Jews over Europe and the world, each Jewish community linked in a fellowship of blood, faith and suffering with every other group, made it possible for the Jew to be international in the sense that no other race or group of merchants could be at that time.
• The main source of the sickness of the German national body is charged to be the influence of the Jews
• the German people that the collapse which has come since the armistice, and the revolution from which they are being prevented a recovery, are the result of Jewish intrigue
• The principal Jewish influences which are charged with bringing about the downfall of German order may be named under three heads: (a) the spirit of Bolshevism which masqueraded under the name of German Socialism; (b) Jewish ownership and control of the Press; (c) Jewish control of the food supply and the industrial machinery of the country
• the German people knew that war meant sacrifice and suffering, and like other people they were willing to share the common lot. But they found themselves preyed upon by a class of Jews who had prepared everything to make profit out of the common distress
• Judaism is the most closely organized power on earth, even more than the British Empire. It forms a State whose citizens are unconditionally loyal wherever they may be … Its fleet is the British fleet, which guards from hindrance the progress of all-Jewish world
• we are not talking about merely rich men who have, many of them, gained their riches by serving a System, we are talking about those who Control
• the world will go on thinking of the Jew as a member of a race, a race whose persistence has defeated the utmost efforts made for its extermination

… More to follow if I can force myself to read more.

Posted in ** RESEARCH for A FLOOD OF EVIL, *** Uncategorized | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

* Lew’s review of … The Myth of the Twentieth Century by Alfred Rosenberg

Posted by Lew Weinstein on August 30, 2013

Rosenberg & Hitler

This is Rosenberg’s incomprehensible, unreadable and I think mostly unsuccessful attempt to cast Hitler’s hatred in more scholarly form. He ranges pretentiously over a wide variety of topics with no regard for connection, consistency or truth. UTTER GARBAGE. Some examples …

• Greedy for the goods of this world, the Jew moves from city to city, from land to land, and remains where he finds the least resistance to his parasitical business.
• The Jew sought domination and, until 1933, seemed stronger than us.
• Where any kind of wound is torn open in the body of a nation, the Jewish demon always eats itself into the infected part and, as a parasite, it exploits the weak hours of the great nations of this world.
• The emancipation of the Jews followed from the preaching of the insane idea of human equality.
• Every German and non German living in Germany who through word, writing and action makes himself guilty of insulting the German people will, depending upon the gravity of the case, be punished with imprisonment, jail, or death.
• the so called old testament must be abolished once and for all as a book of religion.
• England had conquered south Africa for the Jewish diamond dealers … It had handed over control of all financial transactions to Jewish bankers … It had allowed the opium trade to fall increasingly into Jewish hands.

Rosenberg reveals a fundamental fear of Jews,

based on what I read as a clear sense of his own inferiority,

much like Hitler’s.

In the eyes of Rosenberg (and Hitler), all Jewish accomplishments must be viewed as the result of an evil worldwide conspiracy to take advantage of the good German (Christian) people.

Only by exterminating the Jews like plague bacilli

can the German people flourish.

• The law of the coming Reich will sweep here with an iron broom. It will fulfill the words of Lagarde concerning Jews. He said that one cannot convert plague bacilli, but must render them harmless as quickly as possible.

***

Posted in ** RESEARCH for A FLOOD OF EVIL, *** Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

* My novel CASE CLOSED may yet make the news … a long-delayed GAO report, evaluating the FBI’s investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks, promised for September 2013, may be issued “some time next year”

Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 30, 2013

GAO, Mueller & Ivins

There’s a story about Amerithrax in today’s Frederick News-Post with mention that GAO may issue its report sometime next year.

“Scientists who worked with Ivins still question government’s methods,” July 29, 2013 … http://www.fredericknewspost.com/news/crime_and_justice/article_f791e81b-1735-54a7-9258-922edc1dcbdc.html

It is abundantly clear from thousands of posts on my CASE CLOSED blog …  (http://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/) … that the FBI has not presented evidence that Dr. Bruce Ivins was even involved in the anthrax mailings, let alone, as they claim, the “sole perpetrator.”

What is the real story?

Why does the FBI continue to stick with its discredited assertions?

I see three possible reasons …

1. The FBI has more evidence against Ivins but won’t release it … HIGHLY UNLIKELY

2. The FBI has not solved the case, doesn’t know who prepared the anthrax and mailed the letters, but won’t admit its failure … POSSIBLE

3. The FBI knows who perpetrated the anthrax attacks (possibly Al Qaeda related) but will not say it … MOST LIKELY

I wrote a novel about this matter titled “CASE CLOSED.”  Many, including one highly placed in the U.S. Intelligence Community,  say my fictional scenario is more plausible than the FBI’s story.

CASE CLOSED

You can purchase CASE CLOSED ($5.00 in kindle format, $9.45 in paper) at …

Posted in *** Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

* It’s time to write more chapters of “Choosing Hitler”

Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 20, 2013

Read the draft prologue of “Choosing Hitler” at …

https://lewweinsteinauthorblog.com/2013/06/20/prologue-to-lews-novel-in-progress-draft-at-june-2013-tentatively-titled-choosing-hitler/

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Lewis M. Weinstein

Lewis M. Weinstein

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For the past several months I have not written a single word on my new novel, tentatively titled “Choosing Hitler.”

What I have done is read and take thousands of notes from varied sources leading to January 30, 1933, that crucial day when Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany. I will now carry forward the lives and relationship of my two major characters, Berthold Becker in Munich and Anna Gorska in Warsaw, from the earlier chapters already written into the tumult of the early 1930s.

When these new chapters are completed, so will the first section of my novel. My intent, as those of you who have read the Prologue know, is to take Berthold and Anna’s story through the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials in 1946. 

Many of you have been following my research-related reviews on Goodreads. I thank you very much for your encouragement and for many helpful comments and suggestions. For those of you who served as “early readers,” my special thanks for your thoughtful assistance. I look forward to calling on you again when there is more to read.

If you would like to know more about the premise of  “Choosing Hitler,”

you can read the Prologue at …

https://lewweinsteinauthorblog.com/2013/06/20/prologue-to-lews-novel-in-progress-draft-at-june-2013-tentatively-titled-choosing-hitler/

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* Lew’s review of “The Churches and the Third Reich Volume One: 1918-1934” by Klaus Scholder

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 9, 2013

Pio_XII_Pacelli

Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, later Pope Pius XII

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An extraordinary study, published in 1977, presenting the response of the German churches – Catholic and Protestant – to the challenges posed by the rise of Hitler and his National Socialist Party. It is Scholder’s well documented conclusion that words like “blindness, lies, arrogance, stupidity, and opportunism” are appropriate to describe the behavior of both Catholic and Protestant churches in their interactions with Hitler.

The Protestant Churches – there were 28 regional organizations in Germany – talked and talked and talked, without ever taking a stand, while Hitler acted relentlessly in ways that, day by day, restricted the opportunities to oppose him.

By contrast, German Catholicism initially presented an almost united front against Hitler. The Diocesan offices in Mainz proclaimed this position (in 1930) as follows … “no Catholic may be a card-carrying member of the Hitler party … no member of the Nazi party may participate in funerals or any other Catholic events … so long as a Catholic is a card-carrying member of the Hitler party he may not be admitted to the sacraments … Racial hatred is fundamentally un-Christian and un-Catholic.”

In 1931-32, Catholic writers continued the attack … “The Nazis are a brutal party that would do away with all rights of the people … Hitler’s message does not proclaim peace and justice but rather violence and hate … National Socialism means enmity with neighboring countries, despotism in internal affairs, civil war, international war … National Socialism means lies, hatred, fratricide, and unbounded misery.”

What changed and totally undercut this Catholic opposition to Hitler were the workings of Pope Pius XI and Cardinal Pacelli (later Pope Pius XII) from Rome. Focused to the exclusion of all other considerations on the threat of Communism and the desire for a Reich Concordat, the Vatican began by disapproving the Mainz proclamation and then increasingly compelled the Catholic Centre Party to consider how it was to collaborate with Hitler.

The Catholic Centre Party in 1931-32 was the only power in Germany still capable of mediating between the different political parties to forge a moderate alternative to Hitler, but it failed to even make an effort to do so because of pressure from the Pope and Pacelli. German Catholicism’s previous open opposition to Hitler was thus undercut by pressure from Rome. The Catholic Centre party ended up fully capitulating to Hitler (in passing the infamous Enabling Act which made Hitler an unrestricted dictator) before voting itself out of existence.

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* research for my novel-in-progress tentatively titled “CHOOSING HITLER”

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 12, 2013

CHOOSING HITLER - cover

Several friends have expressed an interest in the research I am doing for my novel-in-progress, tentatively titled CHOOSING HITLER.

I organize my books on Goodreads.

  • The books I have read or plan to read are listed in my book category “ch-research.” …

http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/2231715-lewis-weinstein?format=html&shelf=ch-research. 

  • Those I have reviewed are listed in the category “ch-reviews.” … 

http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/2231715-lewis-weinstein?format=html&shelf=ch-reviews

I welcome additional suggestions.

Here are some of the books I have so far found particularly useful in my research …

  • Warsaw: The Cabaret Years (Nowicki)
  • Awakening Lives: Autobiographies of Jewish Youth (Shandler)
  • The Shame of Survival: Working Through a Nazi Childhood (Mahlendorf)
  • Antisemitism and Its Opponents in Modern Poland (Blobaum)
  • Weimar Germany: Promise and Tragedy (Weitz)
  • Justice Imperiled: The Anti-Nazi Lawyer Max Hirschberg in Weimar Germany (Morris)
  • State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda (Bachrach)
  • The Catholic Church And Nazi Germany (Lewy)
  • Rome’s Most Faithful Daughter: The Catholic Church and Independent Poland, 1914-1939 (Pease)
  • Life is With People: The Culture of the Shtetl (Zborowski)
  • Stranger in Our Midst: Images of the Jew in Polish Literature (Segel)
  • Munich 1923: The Story of Hitler’s First Grab for Power (Dornberg)
  • When Money Dies: The Nightmare Of The Weimar Hyper Inflation (Ferguson)
  • Bitter Glory: Poland and Its Fate, 1918-1939 (Watt)
  • Address Unknown (Taylor)
  • There Once Was a World: A 900-Year Chronicle of the Shtetl of Eishyshok (Eliach)
  • Poland’s Threatening Other: The Image of the Jew from 1880 to the Present (Michlic)
  • Hitler (Kershaw)
  • Shtetl: The Life and Death of a Small Town and the World of Polish Jews (Hoffman)
  • The Catholic Church and Antisemitism … Poland 1933-39 (Modras)
  • On The Edge Of Destruction: Jews Of Poland Between The Two World Wars (Heller)
  • Why Hitler Came Into Power (Abel)
  • The Coming of the Third Reich (Evans)
  • The Face Of The Third Reich: Portraits Of The Nazi Leadership (Fest)
  • The Anguish Of The Jews: Twenty Three Centuries Of Antisemitism (Flannery)
  • Hitler And The Beer Hall Putsch (Gordon)
  • Mein Kampf (Hitler)
  • Hitler, Vol 1: 1889-1936 Hubris (Kershaw)
  • Where Ghosts Walked: Munich’s Road to the Third Reich (Large)
  • Adolf Hitler (Toland)
  • Justice at Nuremberg (Conot)

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* “beginning” in Sacred Hunger by Barry Unsworth

Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 23, 2009

  • the prologue is set in 1832, whereas Chapter One is set in 1752-53. In the prologue an old plantaton slave from Carolina (which is where we later learn slaves captured in the settlement were to be taken) talks of a Liverpool ship and his white father (later we know this is Paris) who was a doctor on the ship. I totally forgot about this prologue until I reached the epilogue. So … was it necessary? helpful? distracting? 
  • there is, in effect, a second beginning: Book Two on page 397, begins in 1765, a gap of 12 years. This creates a need for extensive flashbacks, which are inserted at different places in the second story. This works very effectively to create suspense and a desire to kniw what happened in the intervening years.

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* “don’t do” in The Art of Fiction by John Gardner

Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 23, 2009

  • the “dream” the writer creates for the reader must be continuous; avoid interruptions and distractions which force the reader to stop thinking about the story and start thinking about something else

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* “don’t do” in Les Miserable by Victor Hugo

Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 23, 2009

  • Hugo gives in to the temptation, common in writers of historical fiction (including myself), of “showing off” his research. I studied it, I think it’s interesting, so I’m going to tell you everything I know. This is a serious mistake, certainly for me, but even for Victor Hugo. (see ‘The Year 1817’ p. 119)

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* “don’t do” in Club Dumas by Arturo Perez-Reverte

Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 23, 2009

  • transitions. (185-86) the reader is suddenly transported from Fargas’ home in Portugal to Paris, with no transition. The details of this change of scene are presented later (187-88). Does this work?  I don’t think so. It’s a technique similar to what Tolstoy does repeatedly in Anna Karenina. Ah, crticizing Tolstoy – heresy!
  • exposition. long, detailed descriptions and lists of old books, which the reader can’t possibly read and absorb. what is the purpose?

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* “don’t do” in Stein on Writing by Sol Stein

Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 23, 2009

  • avoid anything that distracts from the reader’s experience even momentarily
  • don’t over-characterize a minor character, making the reader think he is more important than he is; select one memorable characteristic that distinguishes this character from the rest of humanity and let it go at that
  • don’t present characters who are either all good or all bad. It’s not believeable. show the contrasts. for example … suggest a character’s vulnerability before that character exercises power, or show a character’s strength before that character is hurt physically or emotionally

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“point of view” in Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett

Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 1, 2007

·     omniscient narrator, able to show the inner feelings of all the characters   ·     at least once the narrator speaks in his own voice … (beginning of Ch 3) … “Faber … Godliman … two-thirds of a triangle that one day would be crucially completed by … David and Lucy” … the narrator thus provides a foreshadowing, setting the stage and piquing the reader’s interest.

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“pace” in Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett

Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 1, 2007

·     Follett’s purposeful ping-pong structure alternating between the characters forced him to slow down to show (in his words) “how the protagonists were reacting to each other’s moves,” and to include more enriched attention to “character, landscape and emotion.”

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* historical fiction … in Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett

Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 1, 2007

  • Follett starts with a one page historical preface about the D-Day deception. He ends the preface … “That much is history. What follows is fiction. Still and all, one suspects something like this must have happened.”
  • the high stakes of blowing the deception plan are emphasized several times … Godliman: “If one decent Abwehr agent in Britain gets to know about Fortitude … we could lose the fucking war.”
  •  But of course we know that D Day was successful and we didn’t lose the war.
  • Follett creates tension about an event where we know the actual outcome, ie that Faber cannot succeed.
  •  Much like Forsythe in Day of the Jackal (published in the early 1970s, before Eye of the Needle), where we know that De Gaulle was not murdered by a sniper but are carried into great tension anyway.
  •  Perhaps the tension is maintained because we don’t know if Faber will fail, or if he will succeed but Hitler doesn’t act on his knowledge. However, we are told repeatedly, by Hitler himself, that he will be guided by Faber’s report.

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“character” in Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett

Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 1, 2007

·     Faber is of course the villain. But he is also patriotic, enormously competent, and capable of feelings, which he must repress in order to carry out his mission. He is an wonderful lover, which he could not be if he were truly without feeling, no matter how much he will not allow himself to express it. This complex character must be admired even as we hate and fear him. A remarkable achievement.   ·     Lucy starts out as a dominated young woman, who chooses to escape to her father-in-law’s island rather than live among people. But in her relative solitude, she develops an unexpected resolve, and when facing the ultimate challenge, she rises to it. Is what she does believable? Maybe not, although in wartime people do extraordinary things. In any case, Follett portrays this larger-than-life character in a way that arouses the reader’s emotions as we root for her to succeed against overwhelming odds. The final scenes and epilogue drew tears from this romantic reader, always a sucker for melodrama.   ·     Godliman (what a name! I’d like to know where Follett found it) is the enabler of the story, providing the narrative links that eventually lead Faber to Lucy. But how much better to provide these through an interesting character than through narrative prose. Godliman’s growth from nebbish professor to razor-sharp spycatcher is done a little quickly. We can believe it, but we would like to know more about him. Perhaps as #3 character, he doesn’t warrant more attention.

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“beginnings” in Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett

Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 1, 2007

·     Follett starts with a one page historical preface about the D-Day deception. He ends the preface … “That much is history. What follows is fiction. Still and all, one suspects something like this must have happened.”   ·     the first chapter begins with Faber. The first clue to his identity as a spy is … “Faber watched such things – he was considerably more observant than the average railway clerk.”   ·     in the first chapter, Faber kills his landlady, packs his transmitter, and moves on. We now know he is a German spy. The next chapter jumps to Godliman recruited to be a spycatcher.

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“point of view” in Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 26, 2007

·     pov is an omniscient narrator, who sometimes interjects into the story … “nor can I discover …”

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“plot” in Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 26, 2007

·     Scaramouche is more driven by plot than by character. It is an exciting adventure story, tracing a vow of revenge from one improbable escapade to another. The pace, usually rapid, is slowed from time to time by philosophical and political ruminations on the changes occurring in France at the time of the 1789 Revolution and its immediate aftermath. This transforms the story, raising its level of importance, since what the characters do impacts these epic historical events.

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“conflict” in Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 26, 2007

·     The entire story is a series of obstacles for Andre-Louis to overcome. Every other character exists mainly to create such obstacles.

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“character” in Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 26, 2007

·     Andre-Louis is clearly a larger-than-life character. We meet him as an obscure attorney representing Privilege, but, enraged by the murder of his friend, he embarks on a succession of spectacular careers. He becomes a political orator, with a message he does not believe. Forced to go underground, he hides in plain sight as the actor Scaramouche in a traveling cast of players. When his own actions destroy that career, he becomes a fencing master, inventing new techniques that later become the standard. Later, a member of the National Assembly drafting the constitution for the new republic of France.    ·     Through all of his many incarnations, Andre-Louis controls his feelings with an iron determination, and we never really learn what he’s all about. Whatever he is feeling for Aline is never revealed. He is not given to introspection.   ·     M. de Kercadiou, Andre-Louis’s godfather to Andre-Louis: “Why can’t you express yourself in a sensible manner that a plain man can understand without having to think about it?” But Andre-Louis always hides his feelings behind a veil of sarcastic humor and his self-imposed rigid Stoicism, of which he is so proud. he says many times that he is not a man of action, but this is not true. He exists almost solely through his actions, not his thoughts, and surely not his feelings.  

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“beginnings” in Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 26, 2007

·     first lines … “He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad. And that was all his patrimony. His very paternity was obscure …” … great opening, characterizing Andre-Louis and raising a question not answered until the very end of the book.

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“point of view” in Silence in Hanover Close by Anne Perry

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 25, 2007

·     Perry gets us into the heads of all three of her major characters – Pitt, Charlotte and Emily – and the omniscient narrator POV allows this easily and smoothly.

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“plot” in Silence in Hanover Close by Anne Perry

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 25, 2007

·     having both sisters (Charlotte and Emily) take on different hidden personas was not credible for me. In a “Society” where everybody knows everybody, it seems unlikely that either could get away with it, let alone both. But Perry is such a good story-teller that I allowed a “suspension of belief” and did not allow my incredulity to interfere with the tension that these subterfuges produced.   ·     Perry has Charlotte, in her persona as Elizabeth Baranaby, sit quietly listening to conversation and asking herselp a series of questions. This helps the reader keep straight what is known and yet unknown about a complicated plot. Similar to what I did when Detective Watson complied a list of unanswered questions in A Good Conviction.

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“pace” in Silence in Hanover Close by Anne Perry

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 25, 2007

·     Pitt asks one very short question after another, each one 2-5 words. This not only shows his investigative style, it moves the background process swiftly along.   ·     Perry frequently alternates family scenes with investigative scenes, breaking the tension, showing more of what Pitt cares about

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“endings” in Silence in Hanover Close by Anne Perry

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 25, 2007

·     the ending, which I will not reveal, is, in my view, too quickly rendered, not quite believeable, and has nothing to do with the aspects of treason which Maass says took this book to a breakout level. It is also, however, a total surprise which ties together all of the unexplained threads that have puzzled the reader, and in Perry’s sure hand it actually works quite well. I’m ready for the next book in the series.

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“dialogue” in Silence in Hanover Close by Anne Perry

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 25, 2007

·     Constable Lowther speaks in a heavy dialect, which is difficult to understand. The only reason this works is that he is a minor character, so you can struggle through. If Pitt spoke that way, it would be a good reason to put the novel down.   ·     Veronica is responding to her mothr-in-law Mrs. York … “Oh, I think the people are quite different also,” Veronica argued. “Argued” is much better than” said,” suggesting the tension between the two women.  

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“conflict” in Silence in Hanover Close by Anne Perry

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 25, 2007

·     “Ballarat disliked Pitt and resented his manner, which he considered insolent.” … we know early on (p3) that Pitt’s boss doesn’t like him, and we sense why. This enmity between the two turns out to be of real significance as the story unfolds.   ·     Mobray was “told … by the powers that be as I should keep to me place …” Pitt will not have a clear path with this investigation. Shortly after, Mobray tells Pitt, “Don’t envy you.” Pitt says to himself … “Damn Ballarat and the Foreign Office.”   ·     “It took him a quarter of an hour to persuade the right officials and finally to reach the department where Robert York had worked until the time of his death.” Pitt overcomes a small obstacle, suggesting that perhaps he will overcome the larger obstacles as well.   ·     Charlotte explains to Radley how she will investigate Pitt’s case. “But will Pitt approve?” … “Thomas won’t have to know.” This is conflict coming big time. However, when Pitt finds out what Charlotte has been doing, he is so appreciative of what she has learned (about the woman in cerise being seen in the Danver house as well as the York) that he expresses no anger. Not realistic.

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“character” in Silence in Hanover Close by Anne Perry

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 25, 2007

·     the characterization of Inspector Pitt begins on the first page, through the eyes of the sergeant … “He did not meet the sergeant’s conception of a senior officer … downright scruffy … the man let the force down. Still, the sergeant had heard Pitt’s name and spoke with some respect.” Is Perry writing for readers who have read the previous books, or for the reader who has not read any of the Pitt series? She must accommodate both.   ·     Pitt feels guilty at taking the case from another man, and uncomfortable with his evasive poking around … we have an immediate (p2) sense that we are dealing with a man of exceptional integrity   ·     “Mobray took a deep breath and sighed slowly. “The elder Mrs. York was a remarkable woman …” This begins the characterization of Mrs. York, who turns out to be a lot more sinister than Mobray’s infatuation would suggest.   ·     Pitt’s interrogation technique changes from simple questions to complex, and he immediately trips up the Foreign Service officer he is questioning. We are impressed that he is a skillful detective.   ·     “Ballarat … was the antithesis of the disheveled Pitt, whose every garment was at odds with another …” … characterization repeated for emphasis. Why did Perry choose this means of describing Pitt? Does his manner of dress play an actual role in his subsequent actions? For all this emphasis, it should, but I don’t recall that it does.   ·     Charlotte is first mentioned on p17. Her first words are “Any interesting cases?” If the reader is familiar with the series, this would be in character with earlier stories. If not, it serves to set her character and an important aspect of their relationship in just 3 words.   ·     Emily, who will be such a major player in this story, is briefly mentioned, but not truly introduced until p29. The initial characterization of her starts out as a description, from Emily’s perspective, of her recently murdered husband George, but evolves in a few sentences into a self-characterization of her feelings for George, her wisdom, her intolerance for injustice, and her evolution into someone more like Charlotte – opinionated, quick to anger, and a fighter against “all she perceived to be wrong” even if “sometimes hasty.” A perfect setup, in one paragraph, for the role Emily will play.   ·     Jack Radley entered … casually dressed … his tailor was clearly his chief creditor … his smile … those remarkable eyes.” All this from Emily’s pov (which the omniscient narrator knows, tells us about Radley and Emily’s feelings for him. Next page: “his eyelashes still shadowed his cheek.” Another reference to his eyes, his individualizing feature.   ·     Mrs. York. They are discussing the winter art exhibit at the Royal Academy, and Charlotte says she does not paint very well. “I had not supposed you to enter a work, Miss Barnaby, merely to observe.” Nasty! We don’t like Mrs. York.   ·     Pitt’s persistence is shown in his relentless pursuit of leads, even after so many of them turn prove unproductive (at least for now).

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“beginnings” in Silence in Hanover Close by Anne Perry

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 25, 2007

·     first line … “Police station, sir!” takes you right into the story.   ·     the first hook (p2) is the opening of a 3 year old burglary case. why? why now?   ·     the old case involves “the delicate question of a woman’s reputation, a distinguished victim from a powerful family, and treason”   ·     “you’d better speak to Constable Lowther first; he found the body” … this case was introduced as a burglary; now we find out (p3) that it’s a murder as well … the reader’s interest is heightened.

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“plot” in The Writer’s Chapbook edited by George Plimpton

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 13, 2007

·     E.L. Doctorow … as the book goes on it becomes inevitable … choices narrow … the thing picks up speed  ·     Truman Capote … what I am trying to achieve is a voice sitting by a fireplace telling you a story on a winter’s evening  ·     Isak Dinesen … I start with a kind of feeling of the story I will write … then come the characters and they take over, they make the story  ·     John Irving … how can you plot a novel if you don’t know the ending first? how can you introduce a character if you don’t know how he ends up?  ·     Norman Mailer …generally, I don’t even have a plot … my characters engage in action, and out of that action little bits of plot sometimes adhere to the narrative (I don’t believe him, he’s just shooting off his mouth·     John Mortimer … the plot and discipline of the crime novel save it from terrible traps of being sensitive and stream-of-consciousness and all that stuff … life is composed of plots  ·     James Thurber … we’ve got all these people (in our story), now what’s going to happen … I don’t know until I start to write and find out … I don’t believe the writer should know too much of where he’s going  ·     William Kennedy … if I knew at the beginning how the book was going to end, I would probably never finish … I knew Legs Diamond was going to die at the end of the book, so I killed him on page one 

 

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“pace” The Writer’s Chapbook edited by George Plimpton

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 13, 2007

 

·     Ernest Hemingway … I have tried to eliminate everything unnecessary to conveying experience to the reader. Anything you know, you can eliminate. But … if you omit something because you don’t know it, there’s a hole in your story.  ·     James Baldwin … the goal is to write a sentence as “clean as a bone”  ·     Georges Simenon … I cut adjectives, adverbs and every word which is there just to make an effect. Every sentence which is there just for the sentence. You have a beautiful sentence – cut it.  ·     Elie Wiesel … I reduce 900 pages to 160 … writing is more like sculpture where you remove … you eliminate in order to make the work visible … there is a difference between a book which is 200 pages from the beginning and a book of 200 pages which began as 800 pages … the pages you remove are really there – only you don’t see them

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“endings” in Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 13, 2007

  

·     One of the most perfect and marvelous endings in literature is the little boy, crying that he’s afraid to go across the moor because there’s a man and woman walking there.

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“character” in The Writer’s Chapbook edited by George Plimpton

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 13, 2007

·     Eudora Welty … You can’t start with how people look and speak and behave and come to know how they feel. You must know exactly what’s in their hearts and minds before they ever set visible foot on the stage. You must know all, then not tell it all, or not tell too much all at once; simply the right thing at the right moment.  ·     Samuel Butler … the Ancient Mariner would not have taken so well if it had been called The Old Sailor·     Kurt Vonnegut … make your characters want something – right away  ·     E.M. Forster … human beings have their great chance in the novel  ·     John Gardner … the first thing that makes a reader read a book is the characters  ·     Lillian Hellman … I don’t think characters turn out the way you think they are going to turn out  ·     Aldous Huxley … fictional characters are much less complex than the people one knows  ·     William Kennedy … what moves you forward to the next page is wondering why he or she acted in this particular way … what’s most interesting is not the plot … the character does something new, and then the story begins to percolate  ·     Norman Mailer … what’s exciting is the creative act of allowing your characters to grow … to become more complex … then a character becomes a being, and a being is someone whose nature keeps shifting  ·     Francois Mauriac … you may start with a real person, but he changes … only the secondary characters (undeveloped, the ones who don’t grow) are taken directly from life  ·     William Styron … I try to make all of my characters “round” … it takes a Dickens to make “flat” characters come alive  ·     William Trevor … fiction writers remember tiny little details, some of them quite malicious  ·     Norman Mailer … one’s ignorance is part of one’s creation. If you’re creating a character whose knowledge of a subject is spotty, then perhaps your own spotty knowledge is a plus (I don’t think so).

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“beginnings” in The Writer’s Chapbook edited by George Plimpton

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 13, 2007

 

·     Joan Didion … What’s so hard about the first sentence is that you’re stuck with it.  ·     Gabriel Garcia Marquez … One of the most difficult things is the first paragraph. I have spent many months on a first paragraph. In the first paragraph, you solve most of the problems with your book. The theme is defined, the style, the tone.  ·     Philip Roth … I often have to write a hundred pages or so before there’s a paragraph that’s alive. That then becomes the first paragraph of the book. Underline all the sentences, phrases, words that are alive. write them on one piece of paper. there’s your first page. the “aliveness” sets the tone.

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“beginnings” in The Day Of The Jackal by Frederick Forsyth

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 28, 2007

·     opening sentence It is cold at 6:40 in the morning of a March day in Paris, and seems even colder when a man is about to be executed by firing squad.” the precise time convinces the reader of the reality of what’s taking place. By not naming him, the reader wants to know who is being executed. And, since the reason is not given, why … from Stein on Writing

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“point of view” in The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 27, 2007

·     the narrator is omnicsient, knowing things that were not known at the time, not even by Brother Juniper during his six years of investigation. “Yet for all his diligence Brother Juniper never knew … And I, who claim to know so much more, isn’t it possible that even I have missed the very spring within the spring?”  ·     this narrator, who is never introduced to us, gains our trust when he says that what the people of Lima have come to believe about Dona Maria is not true, and “all real knowledge” … also when he corrects Dona Maria’s impressions of the Perichole … “It was … untrue …”  ·     in the conversation (p 24) between Dona Maria and the Perichole, the narrator reveals the inner thoughts of both.  ·     the Abbess has “fallen in love with an idea several centuries before its appointed appearance in the history of civilization.” The idea is the modern role of women, and the way it is disclosed reveals the perspective of the narrator, and places him in the 20th century.

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“pace” in The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 27, 2007

·     even though it’s a short novel (117 pages), the story seems to drag, as long narrative scenes regarding Esteban and Uncle Pio are added. What does this all have to do with the collapse of the bridge, and with Brother Juniper, who has totally diappeared from the story?

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“endings” in The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 27, 2007

·     the Abbess “had felt not only the breath of old age against her cheek, but also a graver warning” (the lack of a successor) … foreboding establishes tension … will she accomplish her life’s work? This question never again addressed until the final pages of the story, when it is beautifully resolved. “the search (for a successor) ended with Pepita” who later dies in the gorge, to be replaced, as we are surprised to learn in the last pages, by Perichole and Dona Clara. ·     God’s plan is seen in these new assistants for the Abbess’s worthy efforts, each of them coming to the Abbess because of their own losses in the same accident. Dona Clara lost her mother, Perichole lost Uncle Pio and her son Jaime, and the Abbess lost Pepita and Esteban. Soon we shall all die, we are told, and memory of us “will have left the earth.” But the “love will have been enough,” and all “impulses of love return to the love that made them,” ie to God. ·   last sentence … “There is a land of the living and a land of the dead, and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.”

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“conflict” in The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 27, 2007

·     between Dona Maria and her daughter Dona Clara, who “barely glanced at the letters.”  ·     between the twin brothers Manuel and Esteban over Manuel’s love for the Perichole.  ·     between the Perichole and Uncle Pio, as she grows too much a lady to be seen with the man who had everything to do with her success.

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“character” in The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 27, 2007

·     Dona Maria – characterized both by the derision of Perichole and the theater audience, and her own unawareness of what is happening, and then immediately after by her sad (pathetic) letter to her daughter  ·     Pepita – first characterized by her kindness to Dona Maria in the theater  ·     Pepita’s letter, read by Dona Maria, is her first attempt to express herself to the Abbess, “her first stumbling misspelled letter in courage.” Pepita tears up the letter, and soon sets out with Dona Maria for the bridge. The Abbess will never know Pepita’s first steps of growth toward the mature personality the Abbess has worked so hard to create.

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“beginnings” in The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 27, 2007

·     first sentence … “On Friday noon, July the twentieth, 1714, the finest bridge in all Peru broke and precipitated five travellers into the gulf below” … specificity provides versimilitude.  ·     the fact that the “finest bridge” collapsed suggests something out of the ordinary, some unseen hand. (Stein)

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“conflict” in Write Away by Elizabeth George

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 25, 2007

·   plots must have conflict  ·   Events occur as the conflict unfolds  ·   Conflict is a form of collision  ·   Conflict can be created by resistance against a character’s desires. Resistance can come from within the character himself, from nature  ·   Conflict adds tension to the novel  ·   The story’s conflicts are reflections of the theme  ·    Put your characters into conflict  ·   Look for subplots (which provide opportunities for conflict) based on character’s strengths and weaknesses  ·   Opening scene either possesses or promises excitement, intrigue, conflict, foreshadows problems; establishes atmosphere, place, some characters (not necessarily the main characters)  ·    Characters are interesting in their conflict, misery, unhappiness, confusion; not their joy and security  ·  What does the character do when under stress·   conflict is what brings characters to life and makes them real for the reader  ·   Put the character to the test by putting him into conflict; he then springs to life, forced to make a decision, to act on that decision  ·    create a situation where the characters are bonded together and are unable to escape being in conflict with each other; then “heat” the situation  ·  conflict is a character’s will in collision with something else  ·   a character’s inner conflict will show that he is real  ·        conflict works best when it is rising conflict, builds over time, reveals more facets of character as incidents occur  ·     start with an idea that contains one of: the primary event, the arc of the story (beginning, middle, end), or an intriguing situation that suggests a cast of characters in conflict  ·     Every scene must have conflict.  Begin at the low point, let the tension rise to a climax, then provide a resolution which propels the entire novel forward.  ·   foreshadow future conflict with the present dialogue  ·   after writing dialogue, evaluate it. does it add tension? does it demonstrate conflict between characters?

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“point of view” in The Instrument by John O’Hara

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 23, 2007

·     O’Hara uses an omniscient narrator. Had he used 1st person (Yank) he would have been forced to write a far more interesting story.

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“plot” in The Instrument by John O’Hara

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 23, 2007

·     we never get to know what’s actually in either of Yank’s plays. O’Hara provides scant detail, probably because he never thought it through himself. Yank uses the people in his life to feed the characters in his plays, which could have been very interesting, if we had been allowed to see it happening.  ·     BIO NOTE: John O’Hara received high critical acclaim for his short stories, more than 200 of which appeared in The New Yorker. But it was mainly his novels, though mostly of dubious literary merit, that won him the attention of Hollywood. Their focus on ambition, class conflict, money, troubled marriages, and promiscuity was the stuff of film melodrama in mid-20th century America. These plots seem trite and barren today, all surface and no depth.

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“endings” in The Instrument by John O’Hara

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 23, 2007

·     Yank has not grown at all, remaining the same totally self-absorbed (but honest) person he was when the story started. There was never any reason to feel any emotion towards him.  ·     Yank has used other people and when he had gotten what he could from them, he moved on. This began with Jiggs, who saved his life, and continued with the string of women. He ends, after Zena’s suicide, confessing to himself that, without Zena, he would never again write anything as good. ·     LAST LINE: “Unless, of course, he could find someone else.”  ·     So we are left with Yank Lucas, writer of plays, incapable of feeling emotion except in the characters his talent (his “instrument” ?) creates for the stage. Hollow.

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“character” in The Instrument by John O’Hara

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 23, 2007

·     in the dialogue … Jiggs to Yank … “I never saw such a miserable, ungrateful bastard in my whole life.”  ·     O’Hara has characters ask each other questions. Jiggs to Yank: “are you a writer?” Ellis Walton (the producer) to Yank … “Where is your home town?” (Ellis asks this out of nowhere) … “What do your people do?” … “Have you ever been married?” … “What was your wife like?” … “Why did you happen to marry her, if you don’t mind my asking?” (finally, Ellis realizes that his questions are intrusive … but he keeps on asking) … “And what finally broke it up?”  This is a lazy dubious approach to characterization.   ·     New characters are often introduced first in the conversation of other characters. Yank and Ellis Walton discuss (and begin to characterize) Zena Gollum, David Salmon, and Barry Payne before we meet them.  ·     characterization is provided through the eyes of a minor character (only possible with an omniscient narrator) … “The porter sized him up …”  ·     Yank’s self awareness: “I’m a genius now, but ten plays from now I may not even be good.”

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“beginnings” in The Instrument by John O’Hara

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 23, 2007

·     O’Hara’s first two chapters (50 pages) are a nice setup for what (I hope) will follow. Interesting characters are introduced, the primary event takes place (the production of Yank Lucas’ play), and a whole range of expectations of interesting story line are established. There has been no mention of what the “instrument” is. ·     first paragraph … “Yank Lucas fell asleep late one night and left the gas burning on the kitchen range. … when the water boiled over … extinguished the flame … the odor of gas … Jiggs knocked on the door.”  ·     I read The Instrument because Sol Stein quoted this first line in his Stein on Writing. Would that Mr. Stein had commented on the rest of the book.

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“beginnings” in The Club Dumas by Arturo Perez-Reverte

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 16, 2007

·     opening scene. man hanging, suicide or murder? connection to Dumas Three Musketeers ... very well done. intriguing   ·     opening line. “The flash projected the outline of the hanged man onto the wall.” … a powerful visual image

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“point of view” in The Club Dumas by Arturo Perez-Reverte

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 16, 2007

                     

·     inconsistent narrator. How can Boris Balkan, the knowledgeable narrator of the Dumas part of the story, continue to function as narrator after the April 1 meeting of the Club Dumas, when the story now switches totally to the other narrative, in which he is not involved and knows nothing?  ·     the narractor seems to be a minor character who interacts with Corso, so he is really telling the story from what Corso has told him. Why not have Corso narrate in 1st person? I wonder if Perez-Reverte thought of doing it that way.

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“endings” in The Club Dumas by Arturo Perez-Reverte

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 16, 2007

·     unresolved issues. At the end of the book, there are major unresolved issues, which are not even acknowledged by Perez-Reverte. Who is the green-eyed girl? Why does she follow Corso and help him? What happens to Varo Borja, who has committed murders but is not (yet) sought by the police? Is this effective? I find it frustrating. Did I miss something?  ·     two stories. what seems like two unrelated stories intertwined and soon to become a single story ends up to be two separate stories. Perez-Reverte is playing with the reader, which angers me. I came to the end of the book with great anticipation that the threads would be tied up and then felt great disappointment when they were not.  ·     the forged page At the end of the book, there is an implication that the Ceniza brothers did in fact forge a page, at Corso’s request, thus preventing Varo Borja from achieving his contact with the devil. This page was never shown or mentioned before, or if it was, I missed it. There must have been a better (more clear) way to present this, so perhaps the author wanted it to be unclear, maybe to be thought of long after finishing the book. But he leaves unexplained why Corso would have thought to have the page forged, and for what purpose, at the point in the story when this would have been done?  Another frustrating aspect of the ending to this book.

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“pace” in Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 16, 2007

·    Leisurely pace …This way Tolstoy begins Anna Karenina communicates immediately that this is not a novel about pace, but will proceed in a leisurely manner to wend its way through the lives and relationships of the many characters.  ·     Anna Karenina is widely regarded as the best novel ever written. So I’ve read over 400 pages, with another 400 to go, and I’ve had enough. The story is slow, boring even, with very little happening, and characters that are not gripping. Actually, it’s one long slow soap opera.   ·     Tolstoy’s descriptions of places are remarkable. His interior monologues are often revealing, although too frequent and too long for my taste.  ·     Bored, I have put Anna Karenina aside to be picked up later.

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“character” in The Club Dumas by Arturo Perer-Reverte

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 16, 2007

·     characterization of Lucas Corsobrilliantly presented over a long period of time  a mercenary of the book world … talking fast … getting his hands dirty … a prodigious memory … canvas bag on shoulder (a recurring image) … steel rimmed glasses … untidy fringe of slightly graying hair … facial expressions of a rabbit (never got this … who knows what a rabbit’s facial expressions are like?) … THINGS NOT TOLD IN INITIAL DESCRIPTION: tall or short, lean or heavy, handsome or not.  …  bottomless pocket sof his coat … appears fragile yet solid as a concrete block … features are sharp and precise, full of angles … alert eyes … ready to express an innocence dangerous for anyone who was taken in by it … seemed slower and clumsier than he really was … looked vulnerable and defenseless … later, when you realized what had happened, it was too late to catch him … an oblique, distant laugh, with a hint of insolence … a laugh that lingers in the air after it stops …  attractive to women. … (Corso would) say something casually, as if he had no opinion on the matter, slyly goading you to react … (getting you) to give out more information (than you had intended). NOTE: the adverbs are the key words. Who says don’t use adverbs?  thin and hard like an emaciated wolf (ie, he is a hungry hunter) … a well-trained, patient wolf.  ·    but then, Corso’s actions not consistent with character. Corso has been beautifully presented as dangerous both mentally and physically, someone who is not what others see him to be. This is excellent, but I’m not sure the author has then had Corso act in a way consistent with these characteristics. He acts weak and unsure, he is as often manipulated as he is the manipulator.  ·     glasses and canvass bag as props. Corso often takes his glasses off. his vision is then limited to vague outlines. He is inseparable from his canvas bag. I found myself wondering what he would do if he were ever disconnected from either, and this does happen, on the bridge in Paris. However, the green-eyed girl retrieves both objects for him before too much damage is done. I think more could have been done with that, given all the build up. As with the resolution of major plot details, Perez-Reverte does not finish what he has started. Why?

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“endings” in The Spooky Art by Norman Mailer

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 15, 2007

·   I look to find my book as I go along·   Plot comes last. ·   I want my conception of my characters to be deep enough that they will get me to places (which I did not plan) and where I have to live by my wits. ·   If the characters stay alive, and keep developing, the plot will take care of itself.  ·   Is there a problem if the reader senses that the author doesn’t know how the plot turns out?

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“endings” in Write Away by Elizabeth George

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 15, 2007

·   I always know the end in advance  ·   after the climax comes resolution – tie up loose ends, illustrate the nature of the change that has occurred in the characters  ·   you need to end every story you begin 

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“beginnings” in Write Away by Elizabeth George

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 15, 2007

·   Open up the story by asking dramatic questions (but do not answer)  ·   primary event – that which gets the ball roiling in the novel  ·   begin at the beginning, before the beginning, after the beginning (permits non-linear narrative … back stories)  ·   starting just before the beginning – must have a scene that illustrates the status quo of the main characters before the primary event occurs  ·   start before the beginning by illustrating the character’s emotional status quo; good chance of hooking the reader  ·   start at the beginning by introducing simultaneously both the characters and the primary event … “The bodies were discovered by …” the reader is thrust immediately into the story and the characters  ·   start after the beginning, after the primary event has occurred  ·   In A Great Deliverance, the novel starts with a priest on a train, going to London, reacting to some important (but not revealed) event that we will later learn was the primary event of the story  ·   Opening scene either possesses or promises excitement, intrigue, conflict, foreshadows problems; establishes atmosphere, place, some characters (not necessarily the main characters)  ·   must hook the reader (first task is to keep the reader reading): Follett – Key to Rebecca – opening scene introduces but does not identify character, shows aspects of the character’s behavior that are intriguing, mysterious  ·   opening – establish place by specific memorable details – atmosphere, mood, tone  ·   opening – illuminate theme or plot or place  ·   opening – illustrate agendas of characters 

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“don’t do” in Write Away by Elizabeth George

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 15, 2007

  • avoid preaching 
  • avoid dealing with too many ideas at once
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    * “beginnings” in Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 15, 2007

                          

    • opening sentence … “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” From which we know that this is going to be a story about unhappy families (more than one). 
    • opening scene … Tolstoy starts (p.1) with the Oblonskys, Prince Stepan (Stiva) and Princess Darya (Dolly), who are not the main characters. 

        Q: Are there successful examples in more modern novels of this use of secondary characters to begin the story?

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    “character” in Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 15, 2007

    ·    Karenin … a pathetic character, unable to act in furtherance of his own wishes, but motivated only to avoid being embarrassed by his professional and social associates.  ·    Stiva has no money. Tolstoy shows this, when Dolly asks him for money for clothes for the children … “Tell them I’ll pay.” The reader knows he won’t. He is spending his money to buy a necklace for his actress girlfriend.  ·     “I haven’t stopped thinking about death,” said Levin. “It’s true that it’s time to die. And that everything is nonsense. I’ll tell you truly: I value my thought and my work terribly, but in essence – think about it – this whole world of ours is just a bit of mildew that grew over a tiny plane. And we think we can have something great – thoughts, deed! They’re all grains of sand … Once you understand it clearly, everything becomes insignificant. Once you understand that you’ll die today or tomorrow and they’ll be nothing left, everything becomes so insignificant … So you spend your life diverted by hunting or work in order not to think about death.”  Q: How does Tolstoy have Levin adjust these depressing thoughts to marry Kitty and have a life? A: he sees Kitty and instantly reverses everything. Characters do this often in this on-going soap opera.  ·    from Mailer – The Spooky Art  … Tolstoy is a great writer – maybe he is our greatest novelist – because no other can match his sense of human proportion. Tolstoy teaches us that compassion is of value and enriches our lives only when it is severe – when we can perceive everything that is good and bad about a character but are still able to feel that the sum is probably a little more good than awful.

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    “character” in Write Away by Elizabeth George

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 15, 2007

    ·   Analysis of character is the highest human entertainment  ·    Human character is the greatest of puzzles  ·   What we take away from a good novel is the memory of character  ·      Characters effect events and events effect characters  ·    Real people have flaws; no one wants to read about perfect characters  ·   Issues of self-doubt  ·    Characters who make mistakes, have lapses of judgment, experience weakness, are interesting  ·    We want to cheer when the character (finally) comes into her own  ·    Characters learn from unfolding events  ·    A character is (best) revealed slowly by the writer  ·    Characters are interesting in their conflict, misery, unhappiness, confusion; not their joy and security  ·   begin with a name; names can suggest anything to the reader (personality traits, social and ethnic background, geography, attitude)  ·    Names influence how a reader will feel about a character  ·   Create an analysis of each character, facts, a full psychological profile  ·   Do not bring a character to a book unless he or she is alive before the book begins  ·   Create character in advance; use personality quirks and telling details; know your characters, who they are, how they’ll react  ·    constantly ask questions about what each character would do in the situation in which he finds himself  ·   become the character’s analyst  ·    understand your character’s core need  ·  What does the character do when under stress? (generally the flip of the core need) : delusions, compulsions, addictions, denial, illnesses, self-harming behavior, manias, phobias  ·  what is the character’s attitude toward sex, what is his/her sexual history  ·    What does the character want in the novel?  ·    As you write, frequently refresh your memory about your characters  ·   the behavior of a character is rooted in who that characters is and what has happened in the scene (and before)  ·    we all suffer from guilt, fear, worry, doubt  ·   a character’s inner conflict will show that he is real  ·        conflict works best when it is rising conflict, builds over time, reveals more facets of character as incidents occur  ·   at the climax, the character stands before the reader fully revealed  ·    a reader can bond with a character if there is something in common  ·   Every character has two landscapes: (1) external, (2) internal  ·   External landscape: select details which will resonate with the reader  ·   Internal landscape: emotions, wants, needs, reflections, speculations, obsessions  ·  Allow characters to reflect – reveal what’s in their heads  ·     characters in a novel are more interesting if they have lives outside the (action of) the novel, before the novel was written, and after.  ·   We admire characters who face and prevail over situations we ourselves have experienced, who unflinchingly examine themselves, learn from their mistakes, meet challenges with courage 

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    * “character” in What Makes Sammy Run by Budd Schulberg

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 15, 2007

    ·   Glick is characterized mainly through Manheim’s observations, and only rarely by his own words or actions. ·   simile … “he would come back to me panting, like a frantic puppy retrieving a ball.”  ·   “one stupendous talent, his ability to blow his own horn.” So the die is cast for the rise of Sammy Glick.  ·    “You know what, Mr. Manheim, these are the first brand-new shoes I ever had.” Whenever Sammy calls him Mr. Manheim, that is a signal that he is making an important statement. ·   Sammy’s obsession with shoes is a continuing motif, which is not explained until Manheim learns about Sammy’s family, and the too big, hand-me-down shoes (from his older brother) he had to wear as a young boy, and which were often a source of humiliation to him.  ·   Character development. Sammy grew in superficial ways, ie, he became more successful, but his character never changed significantly. Nor did Manheim’s. At the end of the book, both were essentially the same as at the beginning.  ·   Miss Rosalie Goldbaum. A character introduced so Sammy can throw her aside, which the reader knows instantly will happen.  ·   Julian Blumberg. Another schlub for Sammy to throw aside? Not quite, because Julian has something Sammy will continue to need, the ability to write. ·   Julian is from a background similar to Sammy’s, and offers a contrasting development, taking a moral position to his own detriment that surely Sammy could never do. ·   Who is happier in the end?  ·   Julian Blumberg and Kit Sargent each play their roles in the plot, but neither was allowed to realize the emotional pull that might have been possible. We were never inside their heads so we didn’t have the opportunity to really care about them, although the things that happened to them would have permitted such caring if Schulberg had wanted to go in that direction. ·   “It’s a good evening for me all right. But I don’t know about you, Mr. Manheim.” Sammy says Mr. Manheim, so we know this will be important. And it is. Sammy has undermined his boss and stolen 4 inches of his theater column for what soon becomes “Sammy Glick Broadcasting,” Sammy’s own column about radio. Sammy did it. It was rotten. Yet he doesn’t hide it. He comes right out and tells Manheim, being so brazen as to imply that he did it for Manheim’s benefit 

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    “point of view” in Write Away by Elizabeth George

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 15, 2007

    ·  must be clear about point of view in each scene   Objective viewpoint ·  writing is journalistic, like a reporter; provides facts, but not thoughts and feelings of characters – tough to carry off well  ·  objective narrative can create an aura of intrigue about a character or a situation – precisely because the reader does not know inner thoughts or feelings, but it also minimizes the reader’s intimacy    Omniscient viewpoint. · Must be adept to remain truly omniscient and not just slip in and out of different characters points of view  ·  the narrator knows, sees, hears all  ·  the narrator enters into the mind of every character  ·  the viewpoint of the narrator is not necessarily that of the author  ·  omniscient narrator is a story teller; the reader sinks into the story; the narrator is not confined to the time or place of the individual scene (like a reporter would be) but can provide history about the characters as well as what’s in their hearts and minds  Character viewpoints. ·  Reveal only what the chosen character would see, know, think, feel in each scene in which the character is participating  First person. ·  Stay with one narrator throughout the novel. In that character’s head and none other. Terrific intimacy, authenticity. BUT this one character must be in every scene, which is a challenge to plotting  ·  Shifting first person. Multiple first character viewpoints. Each section or alternating chapters told by a different first person narrator. Challenge: each “I” must be utterly distinct  ·  Shifting third person. NOTE: no viewpoint shift within a scene, unless …  ·  can combine first person with shifting third person (that’s what I did in A Good Conviction·  too many narrators slows down the pace of a novel  ·  narrator can be reliable or a devilishly clever liar, likable or not  

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    * “point of view” in What Makes Sammy Run by Budd Schulberg

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 15, 2007

    ·  The entire story is about Sammy Glick, but everything is told through the eyes of Al Manheim. When something occurs that Schulberg wants the reader to know, but Manheim wasn’t there, he has the person who was there (usually Glick) tell Manheim what happened. These sections are in italic. 

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    “plot” in Write Away by Elizabeth George

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 15, 2007

    ·   plots should not insult reader’s intelligence, no holes in plots, characters who are real  ·   create subplots that illustrate the same theme through different situations  ·   every scene advances either the plot or one of the subplots (or it doesn’t belong)  ·   using a piece of information from the character analysis, twist the story one more time ·   keep aware of what the reader knows or doesn’t know at each point in the story  ·   Ask questions about each character  ·   Work with your characters to design the plot  ·   Plot is what characters do to deal with the situation they are in  ·   primary event – that which gets the ball roiling in the novel  ·   Events must be organized with an emphasis on causality  ·   The first event (scene) triggers the event that will immediately follow it  ·   High drama: direct conflict between characters, discovery, revelation, personal epiphany  ·   Plot must have climax, and climax itself must have a climax  ·   Post climax comes resolution – tie up loose ends, illustrate the nature of the change that has occurred in the characters  ·   Open up the story by asking dramatic questions (but do not answer)  ·   I always know the end in advance  ·   subplots arise out of a novel’s theme, mirror the theme  ·   you need to end every story you begin   ·   theme – the basic truth about which you are writing. ·   you may not know the theme in advance, but it will emerge (???) ·   the writer’s object is to keep the reader reading  ·   if a plot is essentially believable, it can sustain a suspension of belief  ·   every story needs plot points, critical moments when events change 

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    “beginnings” in What Makes Sammy Run – Budd Schulberg (1941)

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 15, 2007

    ·     first paragraph. “The first time I saw him, he couldn’t have been more than sixteen years old, a little ferret of a kid, sharp and quick. Sammy Glick. Used to run copy for me. Always ran. Always looked thirsty.” Brilliant. Tells a lot about Glick and also about Manheim. ·     first chapter. 28 pages. Sets the stage beautifully. Gets right into the story. Conflicts established. Sets reader’s desire to know more. Great beginning.

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    “endings” in What Makes Sammy Run by Budd Schulberg

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 14, 2007

    ·    Sammy’s comeuppance. I expected more. I’m not sure what, but more. It’s hard to imagine Sammy upset with his runaround wife for very long. Upset at younger men nipping at his heels, for sure, but poking his wife, I don’t think so. He didn’t love her, and he would get over the embarrassment, probably find a way to turn it to advantage. ·   He’s not happy. He’s never going to be happy. But ‘happy’ wasn’t ever his goal. Money and power were his goals. ·   He was never portrayed as introspective enough to understand and be upset at what his life had become, and since he did not ‘grow’ over the course of the book, we never got a sense that his original goals might have changed or even be questioned. We sense the incompleteness of his life, but does he? ·   Perhaps Schulberg was too close to the film industry and some of its major players to go any further than he did in dramatizing the essential emptiness of the success driven life. ·   I never cried for Sammy Glick.

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    * “don’t do” in The Spooky Art by Norman Mailer

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 9, 2007

    • The moment you moralize in your novel, your book is no longer moral.  It has become pious, and piety corrodes morality. 
    • Don’t go into your protagonist’s thoughts until you have something to say about his inner life that is more interesting than the reader’s suppositions

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    * process … in Write Away by Elizabeth George

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 9, 2007

    ·     learning something new in writing the novel is a source of energy for the writer  ·        the original idea prompts questions which expand the simple idea into a more complicated story idea  ·      next is research; identify what needs to be learned in order to tell the story  ·     research the specific locations where the story will take place  ·    details about where the characters live adds verisimilitude  ·      specific details: kinds of shops, kinds of houses, types of trees and plants, sounds, smells  ·    take camera and tape recorder on research hikes. Photograph constantly and speak notes onto tape. Transcribe notes every night.  ·     Talk to people, tape record everything  ·     next: create characters – generic list – names! The name of the character is the first chance to position the reader’s attitude toward that character. ·     Say the character’s name aloud – the  reader will.  ·     Write freely about each character, touching every area of their development and lives; develop a voice for each character; 3-4 page document on each character. What drives that character?  ·    Re-read these character analyses when writing.  ·        the deeper the character analyses, the more plot elements jump out  ·    consider how characters’ lives interlock, what the subplots might be  ·    doing the character analysis first allows the writing to be about art and not about craft.  ·      Having created all of the characters, I know their worlds and can create exact settings (not generic) for each   ·   render the setting with as much authenticity as the characters and events  ·   create settings – plan physical layout – each building, connections ·   develop a place I can own on paper, so the reader can experience the setting  ·     step outline – quickly list all the events in the story that can be generated from the primary event and that have causal relationships between them  ·      place these events in the best dramatic order – an order that allows the story to keep opening up and not shutting down  ·   make sure I maintain dramatic questions and do not play my hand too soon  ·    running plot outline – a present tense account of what’s going to happen in a scene, including point of view, stream of consciousness, how can I bring it to life  ·    bullet points for each scene  ·  I see the scene playing out in my mind – do this for every scene in the step outline  ·     rough draft – having done all the advance work, I can now involve myself in the sheer artistry of writing  ·    there are surprises and changes – new ways to steer the story, new elements, new dramatic questions, new ideas  ·   move back and forth – step outline, running plot outline, actual writing – write 5 pages per day  ·   read the hard copy of the rough draft; make no changes in the text; make notes about weaknesses, repetitions, places where story is not clear, where character does not emerge well  ·     I write myself an editorial letter, a guide to the 2nd draft  ·        write 2nd draft on the hard copy (not computer, can’t see it all at once on computer); about 50 pages per day  ·    revise manuscript; give to cold reader for an honest evaluation; with two sets of questions, one to have before reading and one to see after reading.  ·   Take comments, 3rd draft, send to editor  ·    Writing is a job like any other  ·   195. mentions Richard Marek  ·        196. examine every facet of character’s lives, needs, personalities, behavior prior to writing a single word of the novel  ·     write a minimum of 5 pages per day  ·   write every day (even on vacation) – stay situated in the novel – my novels are large, long and complicated  ·   Clear your life of the things that keep you from writing

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    “dialogue” in Write Away by Elizabeth George

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 9, 2007

    ·   A character’s dialogue illustrates opinions, personality, education, economic background, attitudes, beliefs, superstitions, pathology  ·   Wield dialogue as a way of banishing doubt from the reader’s mind  ·    Dialogue can foreshadow events that will not take place until well into the story  ·    relationships take on life through dialogue  ·    natural speech isn’t fluid. Writing like that would be virtually unreadable  ·   Dialogue needs to seem natural even when it can’t be  ·    syntax reveals character: pedantic speech, casual speech, uneducated speech  ·    a character may have a signature word (or expression)  ·   each character has a distinctive way of using language  ·    dialogue needs to be concise  ·   dialogue should never be obviously expository  ·    dialogue is not supposed to be the way people talk all the time  ·   subtext – what the characters are really talking about beneath what they appear to be talking about  ·    to offset the direct nature of dialogue with minimal (or no) subtext (St. James and Deborah often speak directly, trusting each other), which would become repetitive and tedious, you need to have other scenes in which the dialogue is rich with subtext (Lynley and Helen rarely speak directly and often speak at cross purposes).  ·    a lot is going on, and much of it is not expressed  ·    subtext colors the scene. People don’t always say what they really mean. They don’t always state their thoughts and feelings directly. Sometimes they talk around a topic  ·   fancy tag lines such as snarl, moan, whine, growl (instead of said, asked, answered, replied) call attention to themselves. EG discourages using them at all. The reader will know if someone is snarling without obvious words to say so  ·        Adverbs can add a degree of precision, but draw reader’s attention to how the line is said rather than what is said  ·    Junk words. Use them only if they illustrate character. Otherwise delete.  ·    Suggest dialect rather than using full dialect. The reader will get it.  ·    In a long speech, maintain attention by showing other characters’ reactions, gestures.  ·    Interrupt the speech with a moment of thematically related action – sound of voices, wind against the windowpane, song on the radio in car which passes by.  ·   Intersperse some physical thing into the stream of dialogue (may reveal character, contain important information, be a metaphor)  ·    Indirect dialogue is a summarized form of dialogue, told in narrative style, which alters the pacing of the scene, compresses the dialogue while still allowing the reader to know that it was lengthy.  ·   after writing dialogue, evaluate it. Does it add tension? Demonstrate conflict between characters? Reveal some aspect of the character speaking or listening?  ·    Would some of the dialogue be more effective as indirect rather than direct?  ·    If the dialogue isn’t essential, get rid of it!

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    “voice” in Write Away by Elizabeth George

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 9, 2007

    ·     voice is the tone that comes through the narrative when the point-of-view character is on stage  ·    voice comes from the character analysis you’ve created; if you’ve designed characters who come to life, highlighting the salient aspects of their personalities allows their voices to emerge  ·      a character’s voice comes from his background, education, position in society, personal and family history, prejudices and biases, inclinations and desires, belief system, what he wants for his life, his agenda in an individual scene, his arching purpose, his core need  ·    voice: use of language, vocabulary, attitude   ·      we’re inside his head, living the scene through him   ·     attitude reveals character   ·     reader can recognize connections to a character or can recognize that the character is very different (curiosity piqued?)

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    “plot” in The Spooky Art by Norman Mailer

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 9, 2007

                            

    ·   a novel is most alive when one can trace the disasters which follow victory or the subtle turns that sometimes come from a defeat. ·   to know what you want to say is not the best condition for writing a novel. novels go happiest when you discover something you didn’t know: an insight into one of your more opaque characters, a metaphor that startles you even as you are setting it down, a truth that used to elude you. ·   we live in and out of ongoing, and discontinuous, plots ·   our love of plot comes from our need to find the chain of cause and effect that so often is missing in our own existence  ·   I look to find my book as I go along. Plot comes last. I want my conception of my characters to be deep enough that they will get me to places (which I did not plan) and where I have to live by my wits. If the characters stay alive, and keep developing, the plot will take care of itself. ·   most of our lives are spent getting ready for dramatic moments that don’t take place. ·   I no longer make up a master plan before I begin a novel. some of my best ideas come because I haven’t fixed my novel’s future in concrete. I want to keep the feeling that I didn’t know how it was going to turn out. I prefer a story that develops out of the writing. ·   Characters (who are alive) need to fulfill their own perverse and surprising capabilities. ·   I don’t do my research too far ahead of where I am in the novel. ·   if you get a good novel going, you have a small universe functioning, living in relation to its own scheme of cause and effect. ·    Planning too carefully makes it almost impossible for one of your characters to go through a dramatic shift of heart. ·   the artist seeks to create a spell … a feeling that he knows something deeper than his normal comprehension … a sense of one-ness  ·   both artists and scientists are trying to penetrate into the substance of things  ·   coincidences occur … exciting us with a livid sense that there’s a superstructure about us, and in this superstructure there are the agents of a presence larger than our imagination. ·   stories bring order to the absurdity of reality. Relief is provided by the narrative’s beginning, middle and end.  ·   In analyzing novels, consider each major character, and describe where he was at the beginning of the story, where he ended up, and how he got there.  ·   Jorge Borges has a magical ability to put plots through metamorphoses, thus posing the difficulty of comprehending reality. ·  writing a novel is creating a world, God-like, presumptuous, intoxicating, never comfortable.

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    “point of view” in The Spooky Art by Norman Mailer

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 9, 2007

    ·  in the 1st person, you gain immediacy but lose insight, because you can’t move into other people’s heads. ·  in the 3rd person, you are God, ready to see into everyone’s mind, enter into every character’s consciousness. ·  1st person cannot be as free as the separation between author and protagonist offered by the 3rd person.  

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    * “character” in The Spooky Art by Norman Mailer

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 9, 2007

    ·   Tolstoy teaches us that compassion is of value and enriches our lives only when it is severe – when we can perceive everything that is good and bad about a character but are still able to feel that the sum is probably a little more good than awful. ·    an author needs to ask himself constantly if he is being fair to his characters.  ·    we are relatively unfamiliar with the cunning of the strong and the stupid. We tend to know too little of how the world works. those who do real work tend not to write, and writers who explore the minds of such men approach from an intellectual stance that distorts their vision.  ·   seek to apply what I know about political power, finance, and management to my portrayal of Lorenzo de Medici. Imagine how he feels about what he does, or does not do.  ·   never be satisfied with (the way you are presenting) any of your characters, even when they have come alive for you. unless your characters keep growing through (their response to) the events of the book, your novel can go nowhere that can surprise you.·   if the character does not grow, there is no place to go but into the plot  ·     the creative act of allowing (demanding?) your characters to grow is the real excitement of writing. your characters become as complex as real people. But what if they don’t grow, and you don’t bring out the beauty you initially perceived. ·  if you get a good novel going, you have a small universe functioning, living in relation to its own scheme of cause and effect. Planning too carefully makes it almost impossible for one of your characters to go through a dramatic shift of heart.  ·   don’t go into your protagonist’s thoughts until you have something to say about his inner life that is more interesting than the reader’s suppositions.  ·   protagonists are always moving between choices, while the author monitors those decisions.  ·    there are points in the course of fashioning a character where you recognize that you don’t know enough about the person you are trying to create. At such times, I take it for granted that my unconscious knows more than I do. ·    any person studied in depth will prove fascinating.  ·   stories bring order to the absurdity of reality. Relief is provided by the narrative’s beginning, middle and end.  ·   In analyzing novels, consider a major character, and describe where he was at the beginning of the story, where he ended up, and how he got there.

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