The Bridal Chair
By Gloria Goldreich
Our book club met this month for our tenth anniversary celebration. We decided on The Bridal Chair. Some of us were reluctant to read because we all thought it was romance. W were wrong.Elaine Karpel, a snowbird from upstate New York. Arranged for the author, Gloria Goldreich to speak to us through speaker phone. It was wonderful listening to her and learning about the Chagall's and what she thought.
The Bridal Chair, is not about Marc Chagall instead it is centered on his daughter, Ida. The author states that the novel, Bridal Chair is pretty accurate on the life of Marc Chagall's daughter and her father, Marc and her mother Bella.
Marc and Bella are in France raising their daughter. Ida has gotten pregnant. Instead of Ida wanting to marry her lover, she is forced into the marriage. As a wedding gift he paints her the "Bridal Chair".
The relationship of both her parents are very different than most of us. He is very eccentric, and hostile at a drop of a hat. As Ida grows to womanhood. Her parents are very dependent on her to make decisions for them.
As Hitler is on the prowl. The Chagall's are forced to make a decision. But, both her parents are very petty, compared to the entire picture of the war in Europe. Ida's husband's family are in great danger.
They are unfortunately have to be left behind. While the Chagall's are able to escape, thanks to Guggenheim, in the US. Ida's parent's especially her father is in a false delusion. That the SS won't touch him because who he is. Finally as the SS gets closer and closer. They come to realize that just because he is an artist. He is not safe. Ida's husband saves Ida's parents.
The family arrives in the United States, specifically in upper state New York where he resides. Both her parents rely heavily on Ida to make decisions. So much so, it is unhealthy. It appears that Ida is the adult and her parents are the children. Ida is also, Marc Chagall's business manager. She is dealing, and selling, making arrangements for his paintings. When Bella dies from pneumonia. Ida enables her father. She doesn't want her father to fall in a deep depression. Instead he finds a woman that will be her housekeeper. Eventually they become lovers.
I felt sorry for Ida and her relationship with her parents. Her relationship with her parents was unhealthy. How they relied on her. She was stifled by her father. She thought she had the responsibility of finding someone to fill his wife's shoes after Bella died. What kind of life is that for her? Not much.. I can't tell you the saddest part after this because it will just ruin it. I will say, her father let other people control his life, at the end, Ida was free of Marc. Someone else took over. But, how it was done was a slap in the face!
One thought I had Gloria Goldreich has been around for a long while. I remember my grandmother loved to read her novels. Her writing is from the old school. There is not any writing secrets, gimmicks, or writing style. It is straight narrative. There is not any illusions. Most young authors write not with a straight narrative, with flash backs, or climax driven. Some writing styles after awhile they get old. It is refreshing to remember the old style of, straight narrative. Gloria calls the book, not historical fiction. Which, I am surprised about. Rather, she calls it, biofiction. New genre for me.
I love Marc Chagall's work. But, after reading about him. I look at him at a different light personally. But, that shouldn't change how you feel about him, as an artist. I think of his work sinomonus with Shalom Aleichem. Perhaps because the picture you draw of Shalom Aleicheim is Chagall's artistic shetl style. I loved reading the Bridal Chair. If you are familiar with Chagall. Also, love art, and history. I would think you would love to read this one as much as I did.
Marc Chagall's Paintings:
Marc Chagall also did other mediums as you can see below:
Below is Marc Chagall at work at the Metropolitan Opera House in NYC
This is the opera house in Paris
I reviewed Bridal Chair about a month ago after our book club. I am surprised I still remember some of it. Some of it is somewhere in my memory. Please forgive me if I am not accurate in places, people at exact time and names. I would like to thank Source Book for sending me a review copy and allowing our book club to talk to the author, Gloria Goldreich. Also here is a few other reviews here,
Our book club had our tenth anniversary this month. We met at my friend's house, Carrol's. The theme of food was Russian, French, Jewish cuisine. There was so much food, and drinks. Our belly's were quite full. My friend Donna's husband made a cake for the occasion.
We had great conversation. There was so much to discuss about Ida, and her parents. The family dynamics, Jewish rejection or wasn't it?, What does he's drawings represents? His daughter relationship with his father? Thank you Elaine for arranging the author to speak to us. Thank you Gloria.
Kate Lloyd, from Simon and Schuester was so kind. As a gift for our tenth anniversary. Simon and Schuester Publishing gave each of the book club members a copy of, The Lights We Cannot See to our book club she gave us ten copies of the novel, We will be discussing next month. Thank you for all the hard work to put this together. For the publicist's and authors that worked with us to put this together. It was wonderful.