Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Marci Shore

Marci Shore, an associate professor of intellectual history at Yale, has spent much of her adult life in central and eastern Europe. She is the author of Caviar and Ashes: A Warsaw Generation's Life and Death in Marxism, which won eight prizes, including a National Jewish Book Award. She is also the translator of Michał Głowiński's Holocaust memoir The Black Seasons.

Shore's latest book is The Taste of Ashes: The Afterlife of Totalitarianism in Eastern Europe.

Last month I asked the author about what she was reading.  Shore's reply:
Alina Bronsky, The Hottest Dishes of the Tatar Cuisine. Bronsky’s writing is fresh. Rosa, the vibrant and unreliable narrator, embodies both an acceptance of fate that is deeply Russian and a joie de vivre that embraces both the tragic and the ironic. Rosa is not only an alternatively darkly and lightly comical (anti-)heroine, but also a prism through which the reader observes the fine line between delusion and stamina, between narcissistic self-indulgence and an indomitable will to endure.

Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending. The tone is gently melancholic, but never macabre. This is a tightly crafted story that illuminates Hegel’s message in The Phenomenology of Spirit: namely, that actions inevitably have consequences in excess of their intent, and that any determinate meaning can only ever be retrospective.

Hannah Arendt, The Jewish Writings. I find Hannah Arendt’s lucidity as mesmerizing now as I did when I first read her in college over twenty years ago. Her sharp writing is at moments disconcerting, at moments beautiful, and at moments both at once. Her devotion to understanding in the deepest possible sense remains for me a model of what the writer can do, and who the writer should be.
Visit Marci Shore's faculty webpage and read more about The Taste of Ashes.

Writers Read: Marci Shore (February 2009).

--Marshal Zeringue