Reviewer Sandra Shwayder Sanchez: Sandra is
a retired attorney and co-founder of a small non-profit publishing
collective: The Wessex Collective with whom she has published two short fiction collections
(A Mile in These Shoes and Three Novellas) and one
Her most recent novel, The Secret of A Long Journey is soon to be released by Floricanto Press in April 2012 and her first novel, The Nun, originally published by Plain View Press in 1992 is being reissued in a 2nd Edition with additional material by PVP in March 2012.
Author: Germaine Shames
Author: Germaine Shames
The title sounds romantic like the song but a more accurate description of this novel, based on the life of real people, is heartbreaking and powerful. The song that later made its composer famous (the “Italian Cole Porter”) was originally titled Tu Solamente Tu (You Only You) but we find out later that the ballerina Margit Wolf was not this man’s only love. The novel is written primarily from her point of view and then at the end there are sections written from the point of view of her son, the child she gave up a career in dance to bear, raise (for a while) and do her best to protect. Before surviving all the worst that the holocaust imposed on Jews in Europe, this woman was seduced, controlled and deceived by the maestro who pretended to marry her, imposed his will on her restricting her freedom to follow opportunities to be the great dancer she yearned to be ( she lived to dance) and then abandoned her after she went back to Hungary with their son to see her family and was unable to return to Italy. Nor did he save the son he claimed he loved so dearly that their separation was heart-wrenching to him. In fact once his son, as a grown man, did return to Italy he introduced the young man around as a nephew. This son was the only good thing that came of the so called romance that begins the novel and it is to his credit that he grew to be a far better man than his father and has striven to give his mother the credit and memorialization she deserves.
The author, once a foreign correspondent, has the journalist’s gift for packing a lot of information into a few well chosen words. Between these covers the reader will be transported to Budapest, to Italy, to the backstage realities of the Comedias, and to the cold harsh countryside of Hungary patrolled by desperately cruel soldiers. The book is not an easy read but is an important read, reminding the reader of both the depths and the heights of human nature. I highly recommend You Fascinating You to serious readers as well as to bookclubs, anyone interested in pondering and discussing the hidden and often misunderstood layers upon layers of underlying motivation for all kinds of desperate actions whether loving or hateful, helpful or hurtful.