Born in the shadow of post-war Germany, Danzig is a once prominent painter who now teaches at an art institute in San Francisco. But while Danzig shares wisdom and technique with students, his own canvasses remain empty, for reasons he doesn’t understand. One day, he and his class begin sketching a new model, a young woman named Merav, the Israeli-born granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor and herself a former art student. Danzig is immediately taken with her exceptional beauty, sensing that she may be the muse he has been missing. Challenged by Danzig’s German accent, Merav must decide how to overcome her fears. Before they can create anything new together, both artist and model are forced to examine the history that they carry.
Blue Nude recounts the events that bring Danzig and Merav together, including their disparate upbringings, their respective creative awakenings, and their similarly painful, often catastrophic, love lives. Using words to paint the landscapes of body and soul, Rosner conveys the art of survival, the complexity of history, the form of exile, the shape of desire, and the color of intimacy. Blue Nude is the narrative equivalent of a masterpiece of fine art.For those of you new to my website and are wondering why am I reviewing this and not something paranormal, don't worry. This is primarily a paranormal website, but I do on occasion try different books. Last time it was a chick lit book, this time it's a character study. Not just of the two main characters of Danzig and Merav, but of those that had the biggest impact in their lives.
I first wanted to read this book because it had something to do with painting and the art world. I have gone to life drawing classes where you draw the nude figure. I was enthralled with Elizabeth's description on how Danzig ran his class. Now, I wouldn't have called my art teacher cruel, but he certainly was intimidating. So, I readily identified with his students. I also identified with Merav when she described very accurately on how it feels to be a model. I have modeled, but only fully clothed. It is still disconcerting to have eyes staring at you as you expose all those flaws you know the average person doesn't notice. As if they are deconstructing you and constructing you to find your essence. It's a bit unnerving until you see the result. If it is a good drawing or bad, it doesn't matter. You soon realize that no matter how much scrutinizing someone does they cannot find your essence, the deep dark part of who you are unless you let them. They still see only the surface and themselves. All this was better described in the lyrical and visual language Elizabeth uses.
Unfortunately, for me, the magic of the book stopped there. The character study went on and I found myself not being able to find compassion or any connection to Danzig. He was just too selfish and self-centered to have a big impact on me. In fact, I didn't like him at all until you get to the character study of his sister. Even then I only softened a little. The others in the book are interesting, but yet still fail to really draw me into their lives. I have also decided that I will not rate this book as I have others, but will state that this book just wasn't for me. I think those that want to perhaps explore your more literary sense might enjoy this. Although I did like the visual sense the author gave, I just couldn't enjoy her characters.