by Agata Tuszynska
Tuszynska’s prose conveys Gran’s story in brisk, evocative montage while, appropriately, leaving open enigmatic gaps. She finds no bright line of truth—just subtle shades of gray that are revealing of a nightmarish time.—Publishers Weekly
I read Vera Gran with growing excitement at the voice, the author’s ability to parse moral complexities. Tuszynska’s poetic narrative with its tortured antiheroine grabbed me hard. Her reactions to uncovered historical truths — often despairing — are deeply moving.—Louise Steinman, Los Angeles Review of Books
For Tuszynska, the bitter aftertaste of all the accusations and counter-accusations remains. “What would you have done to save your skin? And to save your mother?” she asks. “Who has the right to judge the survivors?”—Andrew Nagorski, The Washington Post
Vera Gran, a chanteuse with a sultry contralto, was the young, beautiful star of the Café Sztuka in the Warsaw Ghetto during WWII. After the war, she attempted to restart her career in Israel and in Paris, with modest success including recordings and a Carnegie Hall performance, but despite her seductive voice, she was haunted by accusations, never proven, that she had collaborated with the Gestapo.
Tr. Charles Ruas from the French of Isabelle Jannés-Kalinowski. Knopf, 2013. ISBN 9780307269126
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