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Pausing For a Backward Glance: A work of historical fiction

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It's the summer of 1950---the protagonist, Sally Apple, impetuous and quirky, disliked yet respected for her un-censoring brain, is a Hollywood screenwriter sent to Paris on a questionable assignment to explore the core values of the crown jewels of fin-de-siecle France, icons such as Degas, Renoir, Monet, Cezanne, Pissarro, Rodin, Saint-Saens, Debussy, Proust, and the eff It's the summer of 1950---the protagonist, Sally Apple, impetuous and quirky, disliked yet respected for her un-censoring brain, is a Hollywood screenwriter sent to Paris on a questionable assignment to explore the core values of the crown jewels of fin-de-siecle France, icons such as Degas, Renoir, Monet, Cezanne, Pissarro, Rodin, Saint-Saens, Debussy, Proust, and the effect the infamous Dreyfus Affaire had on their conscience, integrity and loyalty. In an effort to understand their strong positions on The Affaire, she becomes each of these towering figures---speaking with their inner voices---and in the process, discovers its devastating effect on their relationship with one another and on French society---and ultimately, on her and her husband. When, under suspicious circumstances, her assignment is abruptly terminated, she returns to Los Angeles and finds herself a witness in the post-war House Un-American Activities Committee investigations of communists amongst the crown jewels of Hollywood. In the process, she learns about the revolutionary ideas of Frances Perkins, appointed by FDR in February of 1933 as the first female Secretary of Labor; the iniquity and horror of fanaticism; the Spanish Civil War; Guernica; the American Lincoln Brigade; the damage to our civil rights; national paranoia; betrayals and lies amongst friends; the ruination of careers and personal lives. And why, despite their mistreatment, Black Americans chose to fight for America during the Second World War, all of which gives us a greater understanding of who we are as a nation. And, when she discovers shocking secrets that threaten her marriage, she gains a greater understanding of who we are as individuals as well. The novel delves deeply into the political and social zeitgeist of these two periods and its impact on our society as a whole.


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It's the summer of 1950---the protagonist, Sally Apple, impetuous and quirky, disliked yet respected for her un-censoring brain, is a Hollywood screenwriter sent to Paris on a questionable assignment to explore the core values of the crown jewels of fin-de-siecle France, icons such as Degas, Renoir, Monet, Cezanne, Pissarro, Rodin, Saint-Saens, Debussy, Proust, and the eff It's the summer of 1950---the protagonist, Sally Apple, impetuous and quirky, disliked yet respected for her un-censoring brain, is a Hollywood screenwriter sent to Paris on a questionable assignment to explore the core values of the crown jewels of fin-de-siecle France, icons such as Degas, Renoir, Monet, Cezanne, Pissarro, Rodin, Saint-Saens, Debussy, Proust, and the effect the infamous Dreyfus Affaire had on their conscience, integrity and loyalty. In an effort to understand their strong positions on The Affaire, she becomes each of these towering figures---speaking with their inner voices---and in the process, discovers its devastating effect on their relationship with one another and on French society---and ultimately, on her and her husband. When, under suspicious circumstances, her assignment is abruptly terminated, she returns to Los Angeles and finds herself a witness in the post-war House Un-American Activities Committee investigations of communists amongst the crown jewels of Hollywood. In the process, she learns about the revolutionary ideas of Frances Perkins, appointed by FDR in February of 1933 as the first female Secretary of Labor; the iniquity and horror of fanaticism; the Spanish Civil War; Guernica; the American Lincoln Brigade; the damage to our civil rights; national paranoia; betrayals and lies amongst friends; the ruination of careers and personal lives. And why, despite their mistreatment, Black Americans chose to fight for America during the Second World War, all of which gives us a greater understanding of who we are as a nation. And, when she discovers shocking secrets that threaten her marriage, she gains a greater understanding of who we are as individuals as well. The novel delves deeply into the political and social zeitgeist of these two periods and its impact on our society as a whole.

5 review for Pausing For a Backward Glance: A work of historical fiction

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jack Salem

    Pausing For A Backward Glance [is]….a literary scaffold which allows author Jack Salem to present a panorama of perspectives on the role of artists and art in the ethical and political spheres of both 19th century France and Hollywood during the 1950s. ….the stage is Paris where screenwriter Sally Apple….immerses herself in the biographies of French writers, composers and artists who reflect from the grave on what the Dreyfus Affair meant to them––Debussy, Grieg, Rodin, Monet, Zola, Proust among Pausing For A Backward Glance [is]….a literary scaffold which allows author Jack Salem to present a panorama of perspectives on the role of artists and art in the ethical and political spheres of both 19th century France and Hollywood during the 1950s. ….the stage is Paris where screenwriter Sally Apple….immerses herself in the biographies of French writers, composers and artists who reflect from the grave on what the Dreyfus Affair meant to them––Debussy, Grieg, Rodin, Monet, Zola, Proust among others. ….they wonder how their art should be judged when their views on Jews become known––do esthetics trump unsavory prejudices? [Upon returning to Hollywood]….she and others are immediately embroiled in hearings by the House Un-American Activities Committee looking to find communist influences in the movie industry….[while]….they try to clarify the idealism of liberals who…want improved conditions for African Americans and others as juxtaposed against those with the same goals but with a….Red Bent. [We learn of]….the deeper contexts of the issues, the changing ethos….and the nuances of complex philosophies. The book is her journey, one that includes an advanced education with a unique university of professors––and so too the reader, especially readers willing to digest a book slowly and do some pausing of their own along the way. I very much enjoyed the ride. Dr. Wesley Britton, Professor of English at Harrisburg Area Community College, author, and co-host of online radio’s Dave White Presents. The complete review originally appeared at BookPleasures.com.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Gabi

  3. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

  4. 4 out of 5

    Janet Murdock

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mary

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