Austin Ratner The Jump Artist

ISBN 13: 9781934137154

The Jump Artist

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Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature

A remarkable work . . . [that] documents a triumph of the human spirit over tremendous adversity.” Harper’s

This elegantly-written tribute makes as beautiful a use of the darkness and light of one man’s life as a Halsman photograph of a pretty young woman.” GQ

"Ratner weaves a psychologically arresting fiction from these facts, imagining the creep of Nazism in 1928 Europe." Cleveland Plain Dealer

A beautifully scrupulous, intricately detailed novel about joy and despair, anti-Semitism and assimilation, and like a great photograph, it seems to miss nothing, and to catch its subject in all his complexity.” Charles Baxter

Philippe Halsman is famous for his photographs of celebrities jumping in the air, for putting Marilyn Monroe (among countless others) on the cover of Life Magazine, and for his bizarre collaborations with surrealist Salvador Dalí ( Dalí Atomicus,” Dalí’s Mustache). What is not well known is his role in the Austrian Dreyfus Affair,” which rocked Europe in the years leading up to WWII. While hiking in the Tyrolean Alps, Philippe’s father was brutally murdered when Philippe went ahead on the trail. The year was 1928, Nazism was on the rise and Philippe, a Jewish 22 year old from Latvia, was charged with the murder. He spent several years in an Austrian prison and the trial became a public scandal that pitted many prominent intellectuals, including Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud, against the rising tide of fascism.

The Jump Artist is evocative psychological fiction based on this true story. Austin Ratner has extensively researched Halsman’s life and tells the extraordinary tale of a man who transforms himself from a victim of rampant anti-Semitism into a purveyor of the marvelous.


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About the Author:

Austin Ratner’s debut novel, The Jump Artist, received the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature and was featured in Publishers Weekly as one of the ten most promising debuts. Before turning his focus to creative writing, Ratner received his M.D. from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, co-authored the textbook Concepts in Medical Physiology, and was Clinical Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine at the Stony Brook University School of Medicine. He is the recipient of a Sun Valley Writers’ Conference Fellowship and his work has been honored with the Missouri Review Editors’ Prize in Fiction. Ratner grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, has attended the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and now lives in Brooklyn, New York with his wife and two sons.

From Publishers Weekly:

In his debut, Ratner fictionalizes the story of Philippe Halsman, a renowned photographer who, as a young man in interwar Austria, had his life forever changed by an anti-Semitic kangaroo court. In the novel, œPhilipp Halsman and his father, Max, were hiking when, as Philipp looked away, Max fell off the lip of a cliff and died. The locals testified that Philipp murdered his father, whipping up an anti-Semitic frenzy. After time in prison and his banishment from Austria, Philipp attempts to build his life abroad with the burden of having been believed a murderer; only his mother and a small faction of intellectuals are convinced of his innocence. Ratner's recreation of Philipp's tortured psyche can be wearying, and Philipp's awkwardness—from his jailhouse fixations to the guilt and self-loathing that play so heavily in his life—serve to make him more of an enigma for the reader than probably intended. But, in a broader context, the story has tremendous resonance, given what had yet to come. (May)
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Book Description Bellevue Literary Press, United States, 2009. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The first half of the novel focuses on what is known as The Austrian Dreyfus Affair, a controversial trial in 1928 when the young Halsman was wrongly convicted to several years in an Austrian Prison for murdering his own father. Several prominent celebrities of the time spoke out on Halsman s behalf, including Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein. When Halsman was finally pardoned by the Austrian Chancellor, public scandal erupted and the Halsman family was forced to relocate to Paris. The novel tells the full story of the Austrian Dreyfus Affair for the first time in English. There is no book-length treatment of the Affair in English, despite its having been hugely sensational at the time, and despite its being a significant historical bellwether for the developments that followed: the collapse of Austrian institutions into fascism and the Nazi abuses of human rights in Austria after the Anschluss. The book `breaks the story of Karl Meixner, an unpunished, unremembered war criminal, who has been protected from greater scrutiny by the University of Innsbruck. It is known that Karl Meixner signed the transfer orders to receive Gestapo victims, and known that he used Halsman s father s remains without consent, but it s not yet known how many other human beings suffered the same fate at his hands. This book will appeal to history and photography buffs as well as lovers of vivid and well-crafted prose. Seller Inventory # AAC9781934137154

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Book Description Bellevue Literary Press, United States, 2009. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The first half of the novel focuses on what is known as The Austrian Dreyfus Affair, a controversial trial in 1928 when the young Halsman was wrongly convicted to several years in an Austrian Prison for murdering his own father. Several prominent celebrities of the time spoke out on Halsman s behalf, including Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein. When Halsman was finally pardoned by the Austrian Chancellor, public scandal erupted and the Halsman family was forced to relocate to Paris. The novel tells the full story of the Austrian Dreyfus Affair for the first time in English. There is no book-length treatment of the Affair in English, despite its having been hugely sensational at the time, and despite its being a significant historical bellwether for the developments that followed: the collapse of Austrian institutions into fascism and the Nazi abuses of human rights in Austria after the Anschluss. The book `breaks the story of Karl Meixner, an unpunished, unremembered war criminal, who has been protected from greater scrutiny by the University of Innsbruck. It is known that Karl Meixner signed the transfer orders to receive Gestapo victims, and known that he used Halsman s father s remains without consent, but it s not yet known how many other human beings suffered the same fate at his hands. This book will appeal to history and photography buffs as well as lovers of vivid and well-crafted prose. Seller Inventory # AAC9781934137154

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