Pale Blue Ink in a Lady's Hand: A Novella

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David R. Godine Publisher, 2012 - Fiction - 111 pages
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Pale Blue Ink in a Lady's Hand is, in many ways, a prequel to what is known as Holocaust literature. It is about a long suppressed love triangle between Leonidas Tachezy, a high-level Austrian career bureaucrat, his younger, trophy wife Amelie, and a Jewish woman from his past, Vera Wormser, with whom he'd fallen in love when she was fourteen. After his marriage, Leonidas encounters Vera in a German university town where she is studying philosophy. He makes a promise that implies marriage, but drops out of her life entirely to return to a comfortable existence until one day when a letter arrives, addressed with Vera's unmistakable handwriting in pale blue ink. Leonidas explains his "crime" against Vera to an imaginary courtroom in a way that anticipates Nabokov. The evasions and self-deceptions of Werfel's characters, the various Austrian typesboth Jewish and non-Jewishand the pervading air of anti-Semitism perfectly capture interwar Austria in its poignant final days of toleration.

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About the author (2012)

Franz Werfel (1890 1945) was a Czech-born poet, playwright, and novelist. His writing focused on religion, heroism, and human brotherhood, as seen in the popular novel, The Song of Bernadette.

James Reidel is a poet, translator, editor, and biographer. Over the years, Reidel has published poems in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, TriQuarterly, Verse, The New Criterion, Ploughshares, Conjunctions, DMQ Review, The Adirondack Review, and The Battersea Review. Black Lawrence Press brought out his first collection of verse, My Window Seat for Arlena Twigg, in 2006, and, more recently, his new chapbook, JIM'S BOOK (2013), which marks Reidel's time as the writer-in-resident at the James Merrill House fellow in Stonington, Connecticut. James Reidel is also the author of Vanished Act: The Life and Art of Weldon Kees (University of Nebraska Press, 2003), the definitive and only biography of Kees. Reidel's translation works includes Thomas Bernhard's poetry cycles, In Hora Mortis and Under the Iron of the Moon, which was published as a single volume by Princeton University Press and was later selected by PEN as one of its 2007 translation prize finalists. Other translations from the German include two novels of Franz Werfel, Pale Blue Ink in a Lady's Hand (David R. Godine, 2012), for which Reidel received an NEA translation fellowship in 2009. James Reidel is married to the potter M. Lori Reidel. They have three sons and currently reside in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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