Holi festival 2013. Photo by Olivia Drake MALS ’08.

Ayelet Waldman ’86 writes with “breathless confidence”

[Ayelet Waldman '86]Love and Treasure by Ayelet Waldman '86 receives praise for its "breathless confidence" and "descriptive panache." The novel weaves through history, chronicling the lost treasures of an oppressed generation.

Ayelet is the author of Love and Other Impossible Pursuits, Red Hook Road and Bad Mother.

Ayelet Waldman’s new novel, “Love and Treasure,” places the Hungarian Gold Train at the heart of a multigenerational tale largely set in Salzburg in 1945 and in Budapest, both in the present and in 1913. Crucial to its plot is an enameled pendant, intricately worked in the design of a peacock, unusually colored in purple, white and green. Waldman skillfully interweaves this striking and enigmatic object — a symbol, as the book progresses, of fatal bad luck — into an ambitious sweep of history, setting the loss of millions of human lives against the pendant’s own poignant, improbable survival.

Waldman sustains her multiple plot lines with breathless confidence and descriptive panache, fashioning complex personalities caught up in an inexorable series of events.

Like other recent novels, Waldman’s book employs a talismanic object as a silent witness to history’s atrocities. Perhaps because of this, despite the novel’s admirable narrative velocity, the quietest moments of “Love and Treasure” are its most powerful.

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Image: c/o Stephanie Rausser

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