"In the years following WWII, the horrors of that war reverberate in the lives of the intertwined characters in Nayman's second novel, a story of guilt, mistaken identity, and love . Read more...
"In the years following WWII, the horrors of that war reverberate in the lives of the intertwined characters in Nayman's second novel, a story of guilt, mistaken identity, and love . . . Nayman's saga delves deeply into how even those not directly affected are forever changed by war."--"Booklist"
"With insight and a dazzling imagination, Shira Nayman transports us into a web of post-World War II lives, from Shanghai, to London, to Long Island. As in her previous works, Nayman's characters show us the long shadow that war casts on memory, identity, and love."
--Nancy Sherman, author of "The Untold War"
"The characters in this compelling novel continue to haunt me. Shira Nayman weaves their passions and betrayals in the wake of devastation into a beautiful and heartbreaking story about the impossibility of escaping the residue of war."
--Julie Burstein, author of "Spark: How Creativity Works"
Shira Nayman writes with wisdom and courage."--Ursula Hegi
"A marvelous book that sweeps across decades and around the world to reveal dark secrets locked tight within the human heart."
--Jed Horne, author of "Desire Street" and "Breach of Faith"
"Shira Nayman's sentences have heft and spine and grace, and her vision is clear and generous."
--Mary Gordon, author of "Spending"
Oscar is a mysterious Englishman who presides over Ellis Park, a sprawling mansion on Long Island's North Shore. It is 1951; as the jazz bands play and the ever-present houseguests waft into the ballroom, the war seems much farther away than a mere six years. However, Oscar is tormented by his own questionable wartime dealings--and embroiled in a drama involving late-night meetings with an official, with whom he speaks German. He is also haunted by memories of Christine, his great love who, after the war, sailed to Shanghai; he has no idea of the murky, moral depths into which she has fallen.
One of Oscar's frequent houseguests, Marilyn, a photographer who spent the war years in England, has moved in to Ellis Park for the summer and is working on a book of her wartime photography. Marilyn reminds Oscar of Christine; he finds refuge late at night sitting beside her in the pristine photographic studio he built in a basement area, deep beneath the sumptuous, brightly lit rooms above. Oscar suspects that Marilyn, married to Simon, has embarked on an affair with the adventurous Barnaby, a swashbuckling character whose far-flung wanderings included a long stint in Shanghai, where Barnaby himself had been involved with Christine.
The narrative unfolds through the three different points of view of Oscar, Christine, and Marilyn, in locations on three continents--Long Island, Shanghai, and London. "A Mind of Winter" is a complex, page-turning, literary psychological thriller, which takes up a rich array of themes: the ways in which we choose our beliefs and build our lives around them; the self-deceptive shadings that undulate within; the moral ambiguities of being an artist; and the ways in which socio-historical circumstances inevitably bite into and shape personal identity and destiny.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-03-26
- Reviewer: Staff
Three people whose lives touched during WWII take turns narrating this haunting psychological thriller from Nayman (The Listener): Oscar, an enigmatic art collector, whose past is the book’s central mystery; Christine, Oscar’s great love, who left him after the war and fled to Shanghai, where she became enmeshed in the shadow world of drugs and prostitution; and Marilyn, a photographer with dark memories who struggles to finish a collection of wartime photos. The three have developed their own histories, differing versions of what should be the same story. When they meet again in the U.S. in 1951, they must reconsider their stories and come to terms with a hidden truth that could have changed the course of their lives. Facing this truth can be a painful process, and the suspense grows to an almost unbearable level by the time it’s revealed. Nayman’s training as a clinical psychologist serves her well. Agent: Erin L. Cox, Rob Weisbach Creative Management. (May)