NEW YORK, New York – Award-winning novelist Rose Tremain, author of The Gustav Sonata, is the recipient of Hadassah Magazine’s 2017 Harold U. Ribalow Prize, according to Lisa Hostein, the magazine’s executive editor. The Gustav Sonata is also the recipient of a 2017 National Jewish Book Award.
The Ribalow Prize is awarded to an author who has created an outstanding work of fiction on a Jewish theme. The Gustav Sonata is the first of Rose Tremain’s novels that touches on Jewish life. Tremain, who resides in Norfolk, England, is the author of 14 novels and five short story collections.
The other 2017 Ribalow Award finalists were The Beautiful Possible by Amy Gottlieb and As Close to Us as Breathing by Elizabeth Poliner.
Set in neutral Switzerland before, during and after World War II, The Gustav Sonata is about two boys – Anton, a Jewish musical prodigy, and Gustav, the amiable son of an antisemitic mother – whose lifelong connection ebbs and flows, yet endures into maturity. In delicately penetrating prose, Tremain looks at matters of unspoken love, loyalty, music and sacrifice.
The Gustav Sonata, says Holstein, “is a beautiful story of an improbable and complex relationship set against the backdrop of the war, but this is not a Holocaust story. Rather it demonstrates the fragility of an artist and the resilience of one who keeps him going. This is an important work of historical fiction that plays itself out with the rhythm and force of the musical genre for which it is named.”
Marlene Post, the chair of Hadassah Magazine, notes that, “Once again, the Ribalow Prize winner is one whose work adds an important element to the canon of Jewish-themed literature. We are proud to bestow this special award on Rose Tremain.”
The Harold U. Ribalow Prize was established in 1983 by the friends and family of the late Harold Ribalow, an editor, writer and anthologist known for his passion for Jewish literature and his interest in promoting the work of new writers. Ribalow was the author of some 15 books of Jewish interest. In addition, he was founder and editor of Hadoar, for many years the only Hebrew weekly in the world outside Israel, and a member of the Jewish Academy of Arts & Sciences.