Paintings on show in the Tate, St Ives
Just recently, a dear friend of mine said to me that Jews always travel with the Holocaust in their suitcase, which is why, I think, I understand what Goldie Goldbloom is trying to do in her most recent novel, Gwen. It’s a fictionalisation of the complicated life of Gwen Johns, (1876-1939) the Welsh artist overshadowed by her flamboyant brother Augustus John, and the novel is set mostly in Paris at the turn of the twentieth century. But there are some surreal elements of the novel that will baffle readers unless they know something of the dark history of Paris under the Nazis.
These days, Paris has marketed itself as the city of love, and tourists flock there in droves to enjoy its light-hearted ambience. I’ve done that too, and will again, I hope. But I’ve never forgotten the shock of seeing this plaque on a wall in…
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