Dancing With Einstein: A Novel

3.49 avg rating
( 98 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780743251648: Dancing With Einstein: A Novel

From the acclaimed author of Setting Fires, this highly original new novel offers a protagonist so intensely felt and so compassionately rendered that readers will not easily let her go at the novel's end. She is Marea Hoffman, who, after wandering the world for seven years, has returned to New York at age thirty with the intention of starting her real life.
But Marea approaches everything in her own idiosyncratic style, and she is soon seeing four different therapists simultaneously and telling her story to each in a different way. The story she reveals is about her childhood in 1950s Princeton during the age of "duck and cover" drills and McCarthyism, when fear of communism obsessed America. Marea's father, a Holocaust survivor, worked on the Manhattan Project and later on the development of the hydrogen bomb; her mother was a confirmed pacifist.
Frightened by her early exposure to the threat of nuclear annihilation, young Marea finds comfort in the company of her father's colleague and friend, the grandfatherly Albert Einstein. Einstein charms Marea even as he provokes the wrenching moral debate that will drive her parents apart. When Einstein disappears from Marea's life as suddenly as he entered it and her father is killed in a mysterious car accident, she is left alone with a mother she no longer trusts and with questions that won't go away.
Nearly two decades later, during the August hiatus from her four therapists, Marea takes a reluctant trip home to Princeton. There her eyes are newly opened to the past when she uncovers her father's secret Cold War diary.
Weaving back and forth between 1970s New York and 1950s Princeton, Wenner's exploration of the impact that history can have on a young life is powerful and moving -- a deeply intelligent look at the challenge of finding hope in the modern age.

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About the Author:

Kate Wenner was raised in California during the 1950s, graduated from Harvard, and traveled throughout Europe, the Middle East, East Africa, and Central and South America before moving to New York, where she spent fourteen years as an award-winning producer for ABC's 20/20. Wenner is the author of the novel Setting Fires and a memoir, Shamba Letu: An American Girl's Adventures in Africa. She lives in New York City and the Berkshires with her husband, artist Gil Eisner, and their two children.

Review:

Kirkus Reviews Fascinating...Wenner manages in a short space to create memorable characters [including] Einstein himself, whom Marea called Grandpa and used to dance with around the living room to oompah music. The fallout of America's atomic nightmare is a touching, humanistic story.

Donna Seaman Book List (Starred Review) The narrator of Wenner's achingly beautiful new novel is named Marea, after the dark seas of the moon, and it is clear that she is not like most people. About to turn 30 and a touch mystical, she has been wandering the world alone for seven years in the clutch of a cosmic depression stemming from her unusual childhood. Her Holocaust survivor father was a nuclear physicist involved in the Manhattan Project. Albert Einstein was a family friend. Marea suffered from horrific nightmares about atomic war, and her pacifist mother and Einstein both objected to Marea's father's work on the hydrogen bomb, a conflict that remained painfully unresolved when he died in a car crash. Marea is now in New York, trying to stay anchored and make sense of her life by seeing four radically different therapists, a loaded situation Wenner handles with great wit and purpose. Finally, Marea's mother hands over her father's diary, thus allowing Wenner's haunted, empathic, and intriguing protagonist to come to terms with her personal legacy while Wenner brilliantly parses the terrible ethos of the atomic bomb and celebrates the power of stories, the lifeblood of the talking cure.

Pat Conroy Dancing With Einstein is one of those astonishing novels that has it all: intelligence, humor, eroticism, and a strong emotional power.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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