March 19th, 2011

andrew potter

Behind the Cover: Arthur Sussman

Arthur Sussman was born in Brooklyn, NY and completed his BFA at Syracuse University. After graduation, he worked in NYC for more than 10 years as a designer and illustrator. At the same time, he studied painting at the Brooklyn Museum of Art.

Much of his personal work was inspired by stories from the Old Testament. Beginning in 1960 and continuing almost until his death, Arthur created numerous works of art based on Biblical teaching and stories.

Prior to moving with his family to Albuquerque in 1965, Sussman spent four years traveling in Spain, Israel and Mexico. In New Mexico, he taught at the University of Albuquerque and the University of New Mexico Community College. He will also be remembered for his art and film commentary for local radio and television stations.

His paintings and prints have been collected worldwide by individuals and museums. Significantly, the New Mexico Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe has several pieces in their permanent collection, as does the Albuquerque Museum of Fine Arts. Important biblical works are also in the permanent collection of the Oklahoma City Art Center and the Jewish Museum in New York City.

He is survived by his wife, Judith, his daughters Hannah and Rachel, and their families in Los Angeles and Albuquerque.

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andrew potter

Do you Remember Tulum?: Novella in the Form of a Love Letter by Alex Jeffers

This is a quite strange but oddily enthralling novel; at the beginning the reader has no clear perception of what he is reading or the whole story, it’s not like the author gives you a clear starting point from where you can follow him along a path; instead the author himself jump between present and past, sometime in his memories, sometime in reality, always recording all his actions, or memories, in a never-ending love letter he is writing to his at home lover Ethan.

Actually this is not really a novel, since the main character, Alex, is the author himself, not only same name but also same surname, so I can only think that also the little details of his life, where he studied, where he lived, who is now loving, are indeed his real life. Maybe, this letter he is writing, that will become a novella in form of a love letter, is a way for him to say something to his lover, Ethan? Or maybe it’s a way to plea forgiveness for something he has done and is trying to run away from? But then why if that is the case, he is coming back right in the place where all the problems seem to have begun so many years ago?

When Alex hadn’t yet met Ethan (and this is a nice touch as well in this love story, Alex and Ethan are first cousins and they were pen-pals way before they met in person) he was spending a summer near Tulum and Palenque in southern Mexico; he was helping a college professor with her summer course to a group of students and among them there are Peter and Keenan, apparently straights, apparently carefree boys who will have a great impact on the older Alex, an event that will push him towards the path leading to Ethan. Is it for this reason that 10 years later Alex is back in Southern Mexico, meeting with Keenan and his new lover, but without Ethan?

It was not easy to understand if Alex was running away from Ethan to go back to a past lover, or if he was trying to fix a mistake he did in the past; only in the last pages we will understand what all this is about but one thing I understood, the love Alex has for Ethan: despite everything he was writing a love letter and the most romantic moments, and in a way also the most clear and simple, where the memories Alex had of his time spent with Ethan. So I was sure at least of one thing, that at the end of the letter Alex will return to Ethan.

The writing style is not simple, but don’t worry, this is not one of those tedious novels in first point of view; it’s indeed very much like a letter, like the reader was the recipient of it and was reading it at home. Alex has a way to describe both feelings than things that is rich but flowing, and it’s easy to forget you are reading a first point of view novel, probably since you really identify with the narrator (or the recipient of the letter).

Amazon: Do you Remember Tulum?: Novella in the Form of a Love Letter
Amazon Kindle: Do you Remember Tulum?: Novella in the Form of a Love Letter
Paperback: 170 pages
Publisher: Lethe Press (December 6, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1590213483
ISBN-13: 978-1590213483

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle