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Extended Audio Sample Love and Treasure: A Novel, by Ayelet Waldman Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ayelet Waldman Narrator: Jonathan Davis, Paul Hecht Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In 1945 on the outskirts of Salzburg, victorious American soldiers capture a train filled with unspeakable riches: piles of fine gold watches; mountains of fur coats; crates filled with wedding rings, silver picture frames, family heirlooms, and Shabbat candlesticks passed down through generations. Jack Wiseman, a tough, smart New York Jew, is the lieutenant charged with guarding this treasure—a responsibility that grows more complicated when he meets Ilona, a fierce, beautiful Hungarian survivor who has lost everything in the ravages of the Holocaust. Seventy years later, amid the shadowy world of art dealers who profit off the sins of previous generations, Jack gives a necklace to his granddaughter, Natalie Stein, and charges her with searching for an unknown woman—a woman whose portrait and fate come to haunt Natalie, a woman whose secret may help Natalie to understand the guilt her grandfather will take to his grave and to find a way out of the mess she has made of her own life.

Spanning a century of European and Jewish history, from 1913 Budapest to contemporary Israel, and filled with a vivid supporting cast of art dealers, freedom fighters, psychoanalysts, and a family of singing circus dwarfs, Love and Treasure is a sad, funny, richly-detailed work that asks: What is the value of precious things and where does the worth of a people truly lie?

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Quotes & Awards

  • Love and Treasure is something of a treasure trove of a novel. Its beautifully integrated parts fit inside one another like the talismanic pendant/locket at the heart of several love stories. Where the opening chapters evoke the nightmare of Europe in the aftermath of World War II with the hallucinatory vividness of Anselm Kiefer’s disturbing canvases, the concluding chapters, set decades before, in a more seemingly innocent time in the early twentieth century, are a bittersweet evocation, in miniature, of thwarted personal destinies that yet yield to something like cultural triumph. Ayelet Waldman is not afraid to create characters for whom we feel an urgency of emotion, and she does not resolve what is unresolvable in this ambitious, absorbing,  and poignantly moving work of fiction.”

    Joyce Carol Oates, multi-award winning author

  • “One is quickly caught up in Love and Treasure with its shifting tones and voices—at times a document, a thriller, a love story, a search—telescoping time backwards and forwards to vividly depict a story found in the preludes and then the after-effects of the Holocaust. Waldman gives us remarkable characters in a time of complex and surprising politics.”

    Michael Ondaatje, Booker Prize–winning author

  • “Love and Treasure places the Hungarian Gold Train at the heart of a multigenerational tale…Crucial to its plot is an enameled pendant, intricately worked in the design of a peacock, unusually colored in purple, white, and green. Waldman skillfully interweaves this striking and enigmatic object—a symbol, as the book progresses, of fatal bad luck—into an ambitious sweep of history, setting the loss of millions of human lives against the pendant's own poignant, improbably survival…Waldman sustains her multiple plot lines with breathless confidence and descriptive panache, fashioning complex personalities caught up in an inexorable series of events…Powerful.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “This lush, multigenerational tale…traces the path of a single pendant.…Inventively told from multiple perspectives, Waldman’s latest is a seductive reflection on just how complicated the idea of ‘home’ is—and why it is worth more than treasure.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “A sensitive and heartbreaking portrayal of love, politics, and family secrets…Waldman’s appealing novel recalls the film The Red Violin in its following of this all-important object through various periods in history and through many owners. Fans of historical fiction will love the compelling characters and the leaps backward and forward in time.”

    Library Journal

  • “As Waldman takes us back to Hungary, first in the aftermath of the war, then to the years preceding it, she evokes what it feels like to have your identity and your community stripped from you and how impossibly foolish it can be to think your personal destiny is within your control. With its complicated politics and moral ambiguity, this provocative novel tells a fascinating story.”


  • “A necklace with a peacock pendant raises provocative questions about loss, guilt, and recovery in Waldman’s intriguing new novel…Strong storytelling combined with thoughtful exploration of difficult issues.”

    Kirkus Reviews

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