The Bridal Chair Book Review

*Warning: this review contains mild spoilers. Read at your own risk.

Genius and ego often go hand in hand.

Marc Chagall was one of the great artists of the 20th century. He also had a rather large ego.

His life and the life of his eldest daughter, Ida Meyer (nee Chagall) is dramatized in the 2015 novel, The Bridal Chair: A Novel, by Gloria Goldreich. The book starts as World War II is starting to consume Europe. Ida Chagall is the loved and adored only child of respected artist Marc Chagall and his wife, Bella (nee Rosenfeld). She is young, idealistic and in love. She is also pregnant. At the urging of her parents, she not only marries her young man, but also aborts the pregnancy.

This will only be the first test that Ida and her tempestuous, artistic father deal with. As both an artist and a Jew, Marc has a target on his back. They must flee Europe with nothing more than the clothes on their backs and Marc’s paintings. They arrive in America, with Marc heralded as one of greats of the painting world. Then the book then moves forward in time. The war ends, and both Ida and Marc are dealing with their own challenges, as individuals and father and daughter.

I really enjoyed this book. I enjoyed it because it shows the complexity of being a celebrated artist, the complexity of the father/daughter relationship and how unpredictable life is.

I recommend it.

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