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Wide Awake: A Novel
Robert Bober (Translated from French by
Carol Volk), The New Press, 2012, $15.95,
paperback, 195 pages.
Robert Bober’s
Wide Awake
is a coming-of-
age novel documenting Bernard Apple-
baum’s journey to uncover his family’s past.
Applebaum, a young man experiencing life
in Paris during the 1960s French NewWave,
has been kept ignorant about his ancestry. As an extra on a flm set
for Francois Trufaut’s “Jules and Jim,” he experiences a series of
events that reveal his deceased father’s history.
Applebaum’s attempt to fnd the truth about his father takes
him through the streets of Paris and beyond—all the way to
Germany and Auschwitz. But is he prepared to fnd the truth and
uncover lost memories that may ultimately change his perspec-
tive and cause him pain? His story is not just an example of the
legacy of the Holocaust, but a reminder that one’s past is always
with one—hidden or not.
Robert Bober, who lives in Paris, is a flm and stage director
and writer, whose work includes more than 120 television flms
and fve books. Carol Volk, who has translated more than 36 titles
from French, is a 10-year veteran of the Foreign Service and lives
in Chevy Chase, Md.
Last Summer at the Compound
JH Bartlett, CreateSpace, 2011, $12.95,
paperback, 158 pages.
Te Fukushima nuclear disaster, the larg-
est of its kind since Chernobyl in 1986,
prompted new concerns for those living in
close proximity to nuclear power plants—
like the Lloyd family, the protagonists in
this novel, who own a compound in Plym-
outh, Mass., near the Pilgrim Nuclear Plant.
Te drama centers on whether the family will sell their quiet
and peaceful place of escape from the world. Te decision-
making process is complicated by the fact that fve generations
of the extended family have frequented the shingled cottages on
the ocean-front property for secluded quiet summers. In the face
of their new awareness of potential dangers, this “WASPy” New
England family is torn between tradition and practicality.
JH Bartlett is a graduate of Dana Hall School who attended
McGill University before earning a bachelor’s degree from
Harvard. She is married to Samuel Bartlett, a retired FSO. Te
two spent 20 years abroad in locales ranging from Paris and the
Philippines to El Salvador and Belfast. Tey currently live in
Plymouth, Mass.
The Five Gringas
Nancy R. Asencio, Manuel Asencio
Publishing, 2011, $12.95, paperback,
234 pages.
Te Five Gringas
is the story of the
friendship of Hope, Emily, Sue Anne,
Stephanie and Millie, a close-knit group
of women who form a bond at Embassy
Mexico City that lasts throughout their lives.
Te story begins with the death of Hope, the wife of a retired
ambassador. Te loss triggers an emotional domino efect that
leads to disclosure of past secrets, withheld feelings, nostalgic
reminiscence of the many adventures they shared and an appre-
ciation for true friendships that withstand both the strains of
geographic distance and time.
Nancy R. Asencio was born in Cuba but grew up in Washing-
ton, D.C. She accompanied her husband, retired Ambassador
Diego C. Asencio, to Mexico, Panama, Portugal, Brazil, Venezuela
and Colombia. She and her husband co-wrote
Diplomats & Ter-
, an account of their experience at the hands of terrorists in
0 (see p. 38).
Tey reside in West Palm Beach, Fla.
The Light fromMaggie’s View
Cheryl Nugent, iUniverse, 2012, $18.95,
paperback, 294 pages.
A fnalist for the 2008 Rupert Hughes
Award for Fiction, Cheryl Nugent’s
Light fromMaggie’s View
is a page-turner.
In 1958 Veronica “Ricky” Cooper and
Ann Sympson are best friends in Kentbury,
N.J. Tey spend their summer exploring
the small town’s quiet neighborhoods and gently pushing the
rules enforced by Ann’s strict grandmother. But two days after
they visit the lavish Maggie’s View estate, a young girl’s body is
found close to where they had ventured. As the details surface,
the assault and murder shake the town and thrust it into national
After a second girl’s body is found, it becomes clear that Kent-
bury is dealing with a serial killer. Impetuous Ricky leads the way
as the two young sleuths investigate the events on their own. What
starts out as an adventure becomes far too real when following the
evidence brings them closer and closer to the murderer’s grasp.