In Divine Sarah, Adam Braver, whose previous novel was described as "richly imagined" by the Washington Post, renders a portrait of the great actress Sarah Bernhardt in the twilight of her career as she explores her relationship to art and asks herself, "When does art become the artist?"
Sarah was truly the first international star, and she caused a sensation wherever she went. Set during the course of one week in 1906 California, the novel opens with controversy. Facing protests from the League of Decency, she is forced to move her latest production from Los Angeles to the new development of Venice Beach. And though this is only the most recent skirmish she has faced in her tumultuous sixty-one years of life, Sarah is exhausted and beginning to lose the will to fight.
Plagued by maladies of the flesh and the spirit, she begins to search her soul, revealing the truths of her life, including the self-doubt and insecurity hidden beneath an extravagant and confrontational lifestyle. Yet Sarah is not alone in her battle. Vince Baker, an ambitious newspaper reporter, faces his own demons as he tries to uncover the truth about the great actress.
With a fierce imagination, lyrical delicacy, and a uniquely passionate vision, Adam Braver not only gives us an unforgettable Sarah Bernhardt, he probes the depths of artistry and what happens when it begins to do battle with itself.
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Adam Braver has an MFA from Goddard College. His stories have been published in the Cimarron Review and Pittsburgh Quarterly. He teaches at Roger Williams University and lives with his wife and son in Providence, Rhode Island.
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