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In Art Lost And Found, The Echoes Of A Century's Upheaval
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In Art Lost And Found, The Echoes Of A Century's Upheaval



We bring you a new feature today, this week's must read. Our friends at NPR Books are tuning us into books that relate to the news, and today's installment has to do with the news that the incredible trove of art discovered in a Munich apartment. The art included works by Matisse, Picasso and Otto Dix. It was presumably looted by Nazis or sold as the owners fled Germany.

In light of that story, author Susan Choi recommends a novel.

SUSAN CHOI: The paintings can't talk, though if they could, they might sound like Jenny Erpenbeck's novel "Visitation," which tells a similar story. The central character of this novel sits on a lake in Brandenburg, Germany. It's a house that watches as political upheaval ruins the lives of its residents one after another.

The Jews who live in it are forced to sell it cheap while trying to escape the Third Reich. People bury the things they love in the garden for safekeeping. Other people wind up in equally unmarked, forgotten graves. Houses keep something of the people who've lived in them, and I think a similar thing is true of the paintings found in Munich.

Those artworks have trafficked with all these people who've owned them or stolen them or protected them or tried to profit from them. The object remembers its people. Sometimes that's the closest we can get to restoring what's lost.

CORNISH: That's Susan Choi, recommending "Visitation" by Jenny Erpenbeck.



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