A tale inspired by the World War II Hungarian Gold Train follows the 1945 American capture of a locomotive filled with riches and the efforts of a Jewish-American lieutenant's granddaughter to track down a mysterious woman 70 years later. By the author of Red Hook Road. 60,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)
A tale inspired by the World War II Hungarian Gold Train follows the 1945 American capture of a locomotive filled with riches and the efforts of a Jewish-American lieutenant's granddaughter to track down a mysterious woman seventy years later. - (Baker & Taylor)
A spellbinding new novel of contraband masterpieces, tragic love, and the unexpected legacies of forgotten crimes, Ayelet Waldman’sLove and Treasure weaves a tale around the fascinating, true history of the Hungarian Gold Train in the Second World War.
In 1945 on the outskirts of Salzburg, victorious American soldiers capture a train filled with unspeakable riches: piles of fine gold watches; mountains of fur coats; crates filled with wedding rings, silver picture frames, family heirlooms, and Shabbat candlesticks passed down through generations. Jack Wiseman, a tough, smart New York Jew, is the lieutenant charged with guarding this treasure—a responsibility that grows more complicated when he meets Ilona, a fierce, beautiful Hungarian who has lost everything in the ravages of the Holocaust. Seventy years later, amid the shadowy world of art dealers who profit off the sins of previous generations, Jack gives a necklace to his granddaughter, Natalie Stein, and charges her with searching for an unknown woman—a woman whose portrait and fate come to haunt Natalie, a woman whose secret may help Natalie to understand the guilt her grandfather will take to his grave and to find a way out of the mess she has made of her own life.
A story of brilliantly drawn characters—a suave and shady art historian, a delusive and infatuated Freudian, a family of singing circus dwarfs fallen into the clutches of Josef Mengele, and desperate lovers facing choices that will tear them apart—Love and Treasure is Ayelet Waldman’s finest novel to date: a sad, funny, richly detailed work that poses hard questions about the value of precious things in a time when life itself has no value, and about the slenderest of chains that can bind us to the griefs and passions of the past. - (Random House, Inc.)
Classics scholar Jack Wiseman, in the last throes of pancreatic cancer, entrusts an enamel locket to his granddaughter, imploring her to find the rightful owner. It's the only thing he's ever asked of her. During WWII, Jack had been a soldier in charge of storing the possessions found on "the gold train," which contained the accumulated wealth of Hungarian Jews who had been shipped off to concentration camps. The contents were all meticulously accounted for. But who was there to receive them? The responsibility weighed heavily on Jack, not least because of his involvement with Ilona, a survivor whose shockingly black sense of humor both upsets and entrances him. As Waldman takes us back to Hungary, first in the aftermath of the war, then to the years preceding it, she evokes what it feels like to have your identity and your community stripped from you and how impossibly foolish it can be to think your personal destiny is within your control. With its complicated politics and moral ambiguity, this provocative novel tells a fascinating story. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.
Library Journal Reviews
In her latest novel, Waldman (Red Hook Road; Love and Other Impossible Pursuits) draws a sensitive and heartbreaking portrayal of love, politics, and family secrets, set against the alternating landscapes of World War II, Hungarian society in the early 20th century, and modern Budapest and Israel. The story line forges a connection among a roguish young American soldier guarding the Hungarian Gold Train, which carried valuables stolen from Jews; Nina, a young suffragist in 1913; and Natalie, the soldier's granddaughter, in search of the descendants of the owner of a treasured peacock pendant that the soldier had plundered from the train. This necklace, passing from person to person, is as much a harbinger of ill fortune as it is the common link among the characters and a representation of change in their lives. VERDICT Waldman's appealing novel recalls the film The Red Violin in its following of this all-important object through various periods in history and through many owners. Fans of historical fiction will love the compelling characters and the leaps backward and forward in time.—Mariel Pachucki, Seattle
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Library Journal Reviews
Lt. Jack Wiseman is tasked with guarding a train waylaid by Allied soldiers outside of Salzburg, its cargo including purloined jewelry, fur coats, and Shabbat candlesticks. Then he meets the fiercely determined Ilona, a Hungarian Jew. Seventy years later, Jack gives his granddaughter a necklace and asks her to track down the woman whose portrait it holds. An ambitious breakout novel from the author of Red Hook Road.
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