Since publication day, I’ve been flagrantly neglecting this blog and the concomitant social media dispatches. I have been distracted by Spring here in the foothills of the Sierras. Our twenty acres of rolling land has been carpeted by flowers, and each day, on our walks, Sharon and I discover new blossoms. The first to come out were the intensely pungent blossoms of the buckbrush bushes, followed by tiny yellow monkey flowers. Then in miraculous and astonishing profusion, thanks to the above average rainfall this winter, came Fairy Lanterns, Mariposa Lilies, Bush Lupine, and many more that I do not yet know the names of. One day Sharon ventured out with her iPhone to take pictures of some of the tiniest and most delicate blossoms. Over breakfast this morning we consulted John Muir Law’s Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada to identify a mystery blossom with white and purple petals. Was it a Torrey’s Blue Eyed Mary, a China House, or Sierra Gentian? We won’t know for sure until another Spring rolls around, as this particular flower’s season is gone.
The tall grasses have started to dry. I am mostly done weed-wacking the one-half mile path that winds through our land so that we can walk without our socks becoming magnets for stickers, burrs and Foxtails. I am grateful for this time. I spend hours outside each day, weeding, tending our small orchard, and the plants around the house that need water, trying to dial in just the right amount on the drip lines.
Just in time for Mother’s Day, The New York Times published my essay about growing up with my schizophrenic mom. The ending, about how I came to know my mother though the love letters she wrote before the onset of her illness, was added on at the request of the editor. I think this was a good call. More than sixty people have written comments in response and these are personal, intimate and thoughtful. For all of us it takes courage and vulnerability to write about this.
I have done readings at two book launch parties, which have been joyous occasions, with many new and old friends, some of whom I have not seen in years. Thank you for coming, everyone!
This coming Thursday, May 16th, I will be reading at Books, Inc. in Berkeley (details and sign up here).
A week later, on May 23rd, I will be reading at an East Coast launch party in Brooklyn. (details and sign up here.)
In other news: The Manhattan Book Review and the San Francisco Book Review have both given the Restless Hungarian five stars. A reviewer for the Jewish Book Council writes:
In a measured tone that is at the same time compassionate and dramatic, Tom Weidlinger has reconstructed the life of the complex man who was his father, who succeeded against all odds in his career, but had much less success in his family life. The ghosts of his past continued to haunt him, and personal tragedies visited him in America as well. In uncovering the secrets his father kept buried, Tom Weidlinger has found the understanding he sought and given readers a portrait of a remarkable man.
The BookTrib reviewer writes:
[The book] sweeps through the twentieth century with Paul leading the way, concealing his Jewish identity even as he reaches the pinnacle of success in his profession. Yet that story has given us this magnificent, if tragic, book.
Rabbi Sam Cohen, of Too Jewish Radio in Tuscon interviewed me for his program. Starting next week you should be able to access the 18-minute podcast.
Last but not least, there are still FREE COPIES OF THE AUDIO BOOK available. The next 23 people who write me an email with “free audiobook” in the subject line will receive a Promo Code with instructions on how to download their free copy from Audible. If you like what you hear, I respectfully invite you to leave a review on the book’s Audible page. For a blog post about the process of making the audio book, check out The Cave. What I wrote at the end of the piece still resonates:
The curious thing is that reading my book aloud . . . leads me to experience people and events in a new light. I thought I knew absolutely everything I could know about the people in my book, but speaking their words aloud conjures them in a way I did not experience them on the page. They are somehow more alive and I feel a great tenderness towards them. This is what I have been doing in my cave.