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The White Rose Paperback – 1 Jan 2006
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"This excellent literary mystery [unfolds] with authentic detail in a rarified contemporary Manhattan. . . intriguing and beautiful."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Jean Hanff Korelitz's incisive and urbane new novel, The White Rose, harks back to the gender confusions of Shakespeare's comedies while adding some surprising contemporary twists. The book opens in bed, where Marian, a 48-year-old married Columbia history professor, makes love to Oliver, the 26-year-old son of her oldest friend. The couple is interrupted by the arrival of Marian's oafish cousin, but the bedroom farce that ensues when Oliver reappears dressed as a woman is beside the point. The White Rose, a retelling of Richard Strauss's ''Rosenkavalier, '' is really a roman a clef, a sendup of gossip columnists and Manhattan strivers and a paean to professional fulfillment. Korelitz's characters -- charming, idealistic and contradictory -- are what that make this novel so appealing. Oliver, a metaphysically minded florist determined to create a rose that's ''pompous, overblown and incapable of regret, '' ignores complaints from customers that their purchases die too soon by ''taking a position that celebrates the transience of the flower . . . a flower's impermanence is part of its beauty.'' Marian, the author of a best seller about an 18th-century adventuress, comes to recognize that love is but one pleasure among many. ''Scholars know -- or ought to know -- that they are privileged to lead their lives with their books in their groves of like-minded people. . . . Anyone incapable of appreciating the rare jolts of delight that can come from finding something out -- something wild and obscure, buried in history or chipped from the unknown -- ought to be in another line of work.'' Korelitz, who is married to the poet Paul Muldoon, has previously written two legal thrillers, The Sabbathday River and A Jury of Her Peers. This novel represents a significant step forward.--New York Times Book Review -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Paperback.
About the Author
Jean Hanff Korelitz was born and raised in New York and graduated from Dartmouth College and Clare College, Cambridge. She is the author of one book of poems, THE PROPERTIES OF BREATH, and three previous novels, A JURY OF HER PEERS, THE SABBATHDAY RIVER and THE WHITE ROSE, as well as a novel for children, INTERFERENCE POWDER. She has also published essays in the anthologies MODERN LOVE and BECAUSE I SAID SO, and in the magazines VOGUE, REAL SIMPLE, MORE, NEWSWEEK, ORGANIC STYLE, TRAVEL AND LEISURE (FAMILY) and others. She lives in New York City with her husband (Irish poet Paul Muldoon, poetry editor at The New Yorker and Princeton poetry professor) and two children. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Paperback.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The story is rich and complex. There are a variety of plots and subplots, each of which is compelling enough to be the center of its own novel.
The story gets off to a slow start, which serves neither the author nor her readers well. Yet once one immerses oneself in these characters, THE WHITE ROSE is touching and gripping.
There are a multitude of love affairs described, with excellent descriptions of passion.
There are different versions of the story of the White Rose, including the real one about a small group of upper class Germans who resisted the Nazis.
There are details about the highest levels of academia and scholarship, and about the lifestyles of those New Yorkers who, quietly and without ostentation, are very, very rich.
THE WHITE ROSE is filled with amazing insights, so incisive and so clear that these literally are breathtaking.
The only quibbles go to the author's descriptions of cooking. In one scene, on a day she describes as warm, a character puts on a tweed jacket and necktie to reduce a sauce and boil some pasta. Please! Who wears wool to labor over a hot stove? In another scene, a different character cooks a brisket in less than an hour. It takes more than an hour simply to prep a brisket, and the cooking needs four to six hours. Didn't anyone associated with the manuscript--author, agent, editor--have a clue?
The other issue is the author's sense of direction. The route she suggests using between Manhattan and East Hampton is preposterous. Once again, this weird discrepancy stops the lovely flow of her story.
Yet as a book, THE WHITE ROSE is the finest use of the metaphor of the rose as an example both of the life cycle and a thing of pure beauty since the excellent novel THE ROSE GROWER was published in 2000.
THE WHITE ROSE is a perfect bloom.