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The Deadwood Beetle by Mylene Dressler
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The Deadwood Beetle (2001)

by Mylene Dressler

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This is a simple story portraying very complex emotions. I wouldn't describe this as a story that I "couldn't put down" but rather one that I would "go back to" because it is one that stays in your heart. The writing style is truly fine-tuned and the flashbacks into the past are so well done.

The explanation of the line carved in the bottom of the sewing desk "When the Jews are gone, we will be the next ones", is so well done. Things are never as they seem.

This is a wonderful example of how each of us cannot escape our history, but we have choices: we either have to let it overcome us or come to terms with it.

I did go back to it and reread in 1-20018. Still a good story of an older man (who thinks himself old at not quite yet 70), who has to face his family's past and his emotions toward a woman whose husband is in a nursing home. This time through I might give it a 4 star but maybe because I had read it before. ( )
  maryreinert | Aug 16, 2013 |
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Herinneringen aan een bijzondere jeugd in bezet Nederland
Dedication
For Carl
First words
When I first found my mother's battered little sewing table-or rather, first asked the silver-haired woman who managed the antiques store, or rather that section of the tenth floor with its expensive, museum-quality French provincials, near the back of a building on West Twenty-fifth Street, in a room lit by pools of halogen light, what exactly the homely little table was, and what on earth it was doing there, tucked in among all the grand buffets and elegant secretaires-I was careful to keep my damp hands very still, and to look down puzzled and unrecognizing at it, blinking from under my homburg, to make clear I was stunned only that she would have anything so ordinary, so obviously anachronistic and anonymous and crude and utterly out of keeping with the rest of her very fine and select trade.
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She wasn’t old, but then she was no longer young. Perhaps fifty-five.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0399148051, Hardcover)

"absorbing . . . compelling, and inventive." (Susan Vreeland, author of Girl in Hyacinth Blue)

Tristan Martens, a retired entomologist, is shaken by the discovery of his mother's sewing table in a New York antique shop. He hasn't seen it since he was a boy in Holland, but he vividly remembers the last time he did. Only Tristan knows the painful truth behind the scrawled-and misunderstood-inscription on the bottom of the table, and he embarks on a scheme to acquire it from the shop owner, Cora Lowenstein, who insists it's not for sale.

But as their lives become entangled, Tristan must make a choice. Can he tell Cora the truth? Begun in deceit, their relationship and Tristan's salvation hinge on his willingness to confront and finally confess the terrible secrets of his family's past.

In startlingly beautiful prose resonant with dramatic tension, Mylène Dressler tells the heartrending story of an old man taking his last chance and struggling toward an elusive redemption and the even more distant hope of love.

The Deadwood Beetle is a brilliant novel by a writer whose work the critics have called "lyrical" and "haunting."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:52 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

The story of entomologist Tristan Martens, who has devoted his adult life to the study of beetles.

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