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Goshen Public Library and Historical Society

Across the Reference Desk

by Janet Hamill

October 13, 1999

New to the fiction shelves at the Goshen Public Library and Historical Society is The Reader by Bernhard Schlink. Elegantly translated from the Germanby Carol Brow Janeway, The Reader is the story of a young man's coming of age in a secret affair with an older woman. Becoming ill one day on hin way home from school, Michael Berg is given temporary aid by a strange woman. Weeks later after his recavery, he returns to the woman's house to thank her for her kindness. The woman invites him back again, and an affair ensues. As erotically stimulating as the relationship is for the young man, there is something disturbing about his lover's reticence to disclose anything about her family or her background. One day when he goes to call, he finds her disappeared without a trace. It will be years before they meet again, when Michael Berg is a law student and his former lover is on trial for crimes she is alleged to have committed as a concentntion camp guard in the the days of the holocaust. In little more than two hundred pages, Bernhard Schlink's The Reader conveys the sense of guilt, shame, and betrayal of one woman and an entire nation. Its direct treatment of moral complexity is arresting and well deserving the praise the book has received on both sides of the Atlantic.

A delightful new book on the shelves of current nonfiction at the library is It Happened on Broadway: An Oral History of the Great Whire Way by Myrna Katz Frommer and Harvey Frommer. A husband and wife team of Professors in the Masters of Arts in Liberal Studies at Dartmouth College, the Frommers have gathered together the living memories cf over one hundred actors, directors, producers, lyricists, playwrights, critics, designers, publicists, and stage managers to create a volume filled with the light and magic of Broadway itself. These collected memories take us from the enduring dramatic successes of the yar~ before and after World War II, through the golden age of the American musical, right up to today's megahits. It Happened on Broadway offers priceless recollections of Broadway hangouts, such as Sardi's and Lindy's; performing with Brando in "Streetcar," the collaborations of Kaufman and Hart and Rogers and Hammerstein; and countless encounters with the likes of Mary Martin, Carol Channing, Jerome Robbins, Tennessee Williams, and Steven Sondheim. There's enough theater lore here - from back stage to the orchestra pit - to entertain the most devoted Broadway aficionado.

New to the library's growing collection of foreign film is Francois Truffaur's The Bride Wore Black. Starring the great Jeanne Moreau at the peak of her career, The Bride Wore Black is the story of a beautiful young bride's descent into madness as she revenges the murder of her childhood sweetheart. Filmed in gorgeous technicolor, with a sound trcek by Bernard Herrmann, director Truffaut pays loving homage in this Cum to his mentor, Alfred Hitchcock, and creates a suspense of his own to rival those of the master.

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