"Complex and thoughtful, moving and carefully researched, this is a novel to love and treasure," says Philippa Gregory of Ayelet Waldman's Love and Treasure, out here early next month.
"Salzburg, 1946. A fugitive train loaded with Jewish treasure. A dazzling jewelled pendant in the form of a stylised peacock. And three men - an American infantry captain in World War II, an Israeli-born dealer in art stolen by the Nazis, and a pioneering psychiatrist in fin-de-siècle Budapest - who find their lives turned upside-down by three women, each locked in a struggle against her own history and the history of our times. And at the centre of Love and Treasure, nested like a photograph hidden in a locket, a mystery: where does the worth of a people and its treasures truly lie?
Waldman traces the unlikely journey, from 1914 Budapest to post-war Salzburg to present-day New York, of the peacock pendant whose significance changes with the changes of fortune undergone by her characters as they find themselves caught up in the ebb and flow of modern European history. Spanning continents and a hundred years of turbulent history, encompassing war and revolution, the history of art, feminism and psychoanalysis, depicting the range of human feeling from the darkness of a shattered Europe to the ordinary heartbreaks of a contemporary New York woman, this novel marks the full maturity of a remarkable writer."
Michael Ondaatje comments, "One is quickly caught up in Love and Treasure with its shifting tones and voices - at times a document, a thriller, a love story, a search - telescoping time backwards and forwards to vividly depict a story found in the preludes and then the after-effects of the Holocaust. Waldman gives us remarkable characters in a time of complex and surprising politics."
There is a video trailer for the book here, but you may wish to turn off the audio as I found the music detracted from the images.