Love and Treasure

Love and Treasure

3.52 (3,293 ratings on Goodreads)
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Description

A spellbinding new novel of contraband masterpieces, tragic love, and the unexpected legacies of forgotten crimes, Ayelet Waldman's "Love 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.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 334 pages
  • 165.1 x 238.76 x 33.02mm | 521.63g
  • Knopf Publishing Group
  • United States
  • English
  • 0385533543
  • 9780385533546
  • 1,615,067

Review quote

"Love and Treasure places the Hungarian Gold Train at the heart of a multigenerational tale. . . 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, improbably survival. . . In the novel's final, twisty section, Waldman has great fun with the narrative of a pompous, libidinous psychoanalyst in seemingly idyllic, assimilated, pre-World War I Budapest. . . Waldman sustains her multiple plot lines with breathless confidence and descriptive panache, fashioning complex personalities caught up in an inexorable series of events. . . Powerful." --Catherine Taylor, "The New York Times Book Review " "Waldman is a wonderfully imaginative writer . . . absorbing . . . As with the painting in Susan Vreeland's "Girl in Hyacinth Blue" and the manuscript in Geraldine Brooks's "People of the Book" the link between these separate stories in "Love and Treasure" is a pendant decorated with the picture of a peacock. In Waldman's exceedingly clever treatment, this piece of jewelry is not intrinsically valuable; it accrues value only as it passes from one unlikely hand to another, demonstrating the curious and tragic ways that history binds us together. . . a tense and romantic story that never seems polemical or overdetermined. . . a marvelous panorama of early 20th-century attitudes about women . . . Moving." --Ron Charles, "The Washington Post" "What ethics govern the custodians of property that can never be returned? How do the personal and the political intertwine in the wake of historical tragedy? These questions permeate the novel . . . Charming . . . The failings of the characters imbues them with a fuller and more complex humanity . . . the book'show more

About Ayelet Waldman

Ayelet Waldman is the author of the novels "Red Hook Road, Love and Other Impossible Pursuits, " and "Daughter's Keeper, "as well as of the essay collection "Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace" and the Mommy-Track Mystery series. She lives in Berkeley, California, with her husband and four children.show more
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