Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Remembering your bliss

I don't always pay attention to the author when skimming the library shelves. While there certainly are authors whose works I seek, much of the time I like scanning the titles and seeing what catches my eye.

I was intrigued by the title of "Bliss Remembered," even if Jason did scoff at it a bit when he saw the book on my desk.

And, now that I've read it, I am somewhat surprised it was written by a man. And I'm not quite sure why that is exactly.

Frank Deford's novel is set against the backdrop of the 1936 Berlin Olympics. At least that's when the bliss we're remembering takes place.

When we're introduced to Sydney Stringfellow she is an old woman recalling her youth to her son Teddy (who is no spring chicken himself!)

The most unlikely of promising young swimmers, she had found herself a bit of a fish out of water, no pun intended, in the world of international swimming.

A last-minute addition to the U.S. team headed to Berlin, she learns she cannot compete in the Games. Fortunately, she's not too disappointed because that leaves her plenty of time to spend with the dashing German Horst.

I was taken aback at the level of romantic detail she shares with her son, but maybe when you reach a certain age, you just don't care. And perhaps the reason I assumed the author was a woman was the description of their idyll. You know how the minutia of key times in your life is etched in your memory - I erroneously thought that was a girl thing.

But 'Bliss' is much more than the recollections of an old woman. Deford's novel has some twists and turns to keep you on edge. And he'll have you thinking back to your first love!

- Tricia Ambrose

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