mzkat reviewed this|about 1 year ago
Katherine Weber has written several novels, including one titled Objects in Mirror are Closer Than They Appear. This title’s reference to illusion and true or false appearance could be said to foreshadow her family memoir where childhood perceptions are gradually refined by time to reveal another reality. Weber’s father was a man who lived life on his terms, with minimal attention to the needs of his own undemanding, child-like wife and children, including Weber. Comfortable leading a double life which included other women and long absences, Sidney Kaufman was self-centered and willing to cut off anyone, including his own young daughter, who crossed him in ways often unknown to them, His business was movie production, but his projects failed more than succeeded. He conducted his life as if it were a movie production, complete with cost overruns, theatrical showdowns, and a preference for artifice rather than humdrum routines.As Weber explores her father’s past, she discovers that in addition to his unfaithfulness to his family, the FBI followed him for years, though never bringing charges against him. His associations were suspicious during that time , including the period of the Hollywood blacklist, but charges were never filed against him. That story in and of itself could be fascinating in a memoir, but it is just the beginning. Weber’s mother comes from a wealthy family, the Warburgs, famous for their prominence as bankers and their political ties to Roosevelt. These are the same Warburgs whom conspiracy fans cite when raging against the IMF. When someone mentions to Weber that she should look into the story of her maternal grandmother’s relationship with George Gershwin, the story veers from following the already attention-grabbing story about her parents to that of her grandparents, but particularly that of her maternal grandmother, Kay Weber.Named after this grandmother, Weber grew up adoring this woman who lavished love and attention of the Auntie Mame sort. In other words, this was no ordinary grandmother making pies and babysitting, but a creative woman who played the piano and sang, invented her own words to describe things, and enchanted children and adults alike with joie de vivre.Weber’s mother grew up knowing Gershwin who was always around. This, Weber knew. What she did not know was that her grandmother, while still married to Weber’s grandfather, had an affair of many years with Gershwin. No short-lived affair, Kay Weber and George Gershwin ‘s relationship lasted for years until Gershwin relocated from New York to California and died shortly therafter. Her family’s story takes on a richer hue as other fascinating characters and historical anecdotes weave in and out. Oscar Levant, Vernon Duke, David Siqueiros, among others are walk-ons. One particular character, Dr. Zilbourg, was the psychoanalyst to Kay Weber, George Gershwin, and others in their social circle, often playing one against the other by divulging information learned in sessions and sleeping with his patients. On top of that, Weber discovers his analyst credentials were bogus. There are countless sidebar stories. Here’s one. Key Weber and George Gershwin may have been the inspirational couple for George and Marian Kirby in Topper. Read the book to get the details.Lovers of Gershwin and this incomparable time in New York’s cultural history will be unable to resist this story. Too bad it didn’t come with a soundtrack of Gershwin"s and Weber’s music (yes, she was a composer, too). Never mind. On its own, Weber’s story ‘s wonderful ‘s marvelous!