For this installment of Ten Questions we welcome International Bestselling author Alyson Richman *applause* Ms. Richman is the author of The Garden of Letters, The Lost Wife (one of my favorite books of all time), The Last Van Gogh, The Rhythm of Memory, and The Mask Carver’s Son. But more than that, Alyson Richman is an artist. A weaver of words, paint, music, and motion Alyson creates stories that make you feel beauty as you read them. This may sound odd since many of Ms. Richman’s novels are framed around war, political upheaval, or other tragic events, but that is what makes these stories extraordinary–they allow you to see how beauty survives and even thrives in the course of sadness.
In her most popular novel, The Lost Wife, we’re introduced to Lenka and Josef a young couple separated during WWII when each believes the other to be dead. Lenka, an artist, is sent to Terezin where she uses art to help create a lasting record of the horrors she witnesses. Josef ends up a doctor in New York after the war and tries to build a new life while being haunted by the ghosts of the past. The story begins with one of the best scenes I’ve ever read. I’ll try to summarize it for you here:
An elderly man is sitting at his grandson’s rehearsal dinner when suddenly a woman catches his eye from across the room. He goes to her, transfixed, and looks at her like he’s seen a ghost. This woman, the grandmother of the bride, does not recognize him but he remembers her. “Lenka”, he says, “it’s me Josef. Your husband.”
And that was all it took to suck me in. How could you not be immediately drawn to a story that starts this way? That’s right. You can’t. BUT before you run out to read The Lost Wife or one of Alyson’s other novels, take a look at our Ten Questions Q&A.
Ten Questions vol. 1 #2 Alyson Richman
Bookish Devices: What is your favorite word?
Alyson Richman: Sensual
BD: What is your least favorite word?
BD: What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
AR: Creatively, I’m inspired by beauty in all forms: in nature, in art, in the simple gesture between two people. I love small details that evoke a thunderstorm of emotions
BD:What turns you off?
AR: Rudeness and cruelty.
BD: What sound or noise do you love?
AR: I love the sound of the waves lapping against the surf
BD: What sound or noise do you hate?
AR: I hate the sound of whining
BD: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
AR: I would have loved to have been a glass blower.
BD: What profession would you not like to do?
AR: I could never drive a truck or bus as I’m a nervous driver
BD: If you could have drinks with any author or literary figure, whom would you invite?
AR: Gabriel Garcia Marquez
BD: What would you choose for your last meal?
AR: Truffle pasta, Duck with black currant sauce, Chocolate Lava Cake with a scoop of Vanilla Gelato and a flute of champagne.
BD: What is your favorite work of art?
AR: Andrew Wyeth’s “Christina’s World.” It makes me dream every time I see it.
BD: If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and could only bring one book, which would you bring?
AR: Shadow of the Wind
THANK YOU, Alyson for playing along with us and sharing in the bookish fun!