Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Monday, August 14, 2023

Memoir Monday...

One Hundred Saturdays by Michael Frank... With nearly a century of life behind her, Stella Levi had never before spoken in detail about her past. Then she met Michael Frank. He came to her Greenwich Village apartment one Saturday afternoon to ask her a question about the Juderia, the neighborhood in Rhodes where she’d grown up in a Sephardic Jewish community that had thrived there for half a millennium. Neither of them could know this was the first of one hundred Saturdays that they would spend in each other’s company as Stella traveled back in time to conjure what it felt like to come of age on this luminous, legendary island in the eastern Aegean, which the Italians won in 1912 as the Ottoman empire was disintegrating, began officially governing as a colonial possession in 1923, and transformed over the next two decades until the Germans seized control and deported the entire Juderia to Auschwitz in July of 1944.

Probing and courageous, candid and sly, Stella is a magical modern-day Scheherazade whose stories reveal what it was like to grow up in an extraordinary place in an extraordinary time—and to construct a life after that place vanished. One Hundred Saturdays is a portrait of one of the last survivors, drawn at nearly the last possible moment; it is also an account of a tender and transformative friendship that develops between storyteller and listener as they explore the fundamental mystery of what it means to collect, share, and interpret the deepest truths of a life deeply lived.

In the vein of Tuesday with Morrie, Michael Frank spends 100 Saturdays, nearly 6 years, talking with Stella Levi in her Greenwich Village apartment. A chance meeting at a lecture turns into a wonderful friendship and of Stella sharing her story, her life.

One Hundred Saturdays was listed under the Indies Next selections as one the 6 Now in Paperback selections for September 2023. Originally this book was in the running for the Indie Next pick in September of 2022, but didn't win the #1 spot. But that's how I found this book... reading about Septembers' picks. And it intrigued me. I generally shy away from books about the Holocaust. They just depress me. But this book takes place in an area I'm unfamiliar with: Rhodes, Greece. But not only is this a story of survival, but it also is a coming of age story. I like how the author and Stella Levi meet and how the author takes the next 100 saturdays to listen to Stella recount her life to him. 

On my nightstand, published by Avid Reader Press, a division of Simon & Schuster last September, it is now available in paperback.

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