Wednesday, 6 August 2014

"And There Was Light" A remarkable book.

"And There Was Light" is the superb auto-memoir of Jacques Lusseyran's short (1924-1971) life.  I happened upon this book at my local Fruitville branch of the Sarasota County Library system, and read it with awe.  (It had been re-printed and re-issued by the New World Library in  March 2014).

Jacques was born to loving and intellectual Parisian parents. He sight was always poor and as a result of a tragic accident in school he was left blind at the age of eight.

This physical blindness led him to an almost mystical inner sight  (insight?) which was profound at spiritual, intellectual, and practical levels.

His book muses on life, on love, on loyalty, and on his sense of  God: all which led him to be an amazing, yeah even great,  leader in the French Resistance. 

It also tells of his betrayal (by  a devious collaborator who had joined the Resistance) and of the hell Lusseyran endured in the Buchenwald Concentration camp.

I am glad that I "happened" upon this moving and un-settling memoir which I finished yesterday, and I commend it to you. It is not easy reading

In another bit of happenstance I tuned into the 11:00 a.m. part of the Diane Rehm radio  show this morning.  (Diane is one of the few remaining American broadcasters who has integrity).

This morning she was having a conversation with the Amherst College (Amherst MA) Professor Ronald Rosbottom about his new book "When Paris Went Dark" - a stellar account of Paris during the WWII German occupation.

In the course of the programme Diane asked him about heroes of the Resistance.  Guess what?  He talked about Jacques Lusseyran - a man of whom I had never  heard until a few days ago when I read "And There Was Light". 

The colour green is significant as you will discover when you read the book.

Here is a "blurb" about Lusseyran's book:

Here is what Wikipedia says about him:

And here is your vital link to Diane Rehm's conversation with Ronald Rosbottom this morning.  Please take time out to listen to it.

(If you have never listened to Diane you will have questions about her voice, as I once did) .  Here is the scoop:

In 1998, Rehm’s career nearly ended because of spasmodic dysphonia, a neurological voice disorder that causes strained, difficult speech. Rehm sought treatment, returned to the show, and called attention to the condition. The National Council on Communicative Disorders recognized her work with a Communication Award, and ABC’s Nightline devoted an entire program to a conversation with Rehm about her disorder. Recently, she has been consuming a drink that has eased her symptoms, the recipe for which was recommended by her voice coach, Gary Catona.

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