Bliss is a Well-Told Story

BLISS, REMEMBERED by Frank DeFord

When I read the plot summary of Frank DeFord’s latest book BLISS, REMEMBERED, I was excited.  As one of my favorite NPR commentators I have always looked forward to reading/hearing from DeFord, but the summaries of his previous books just never piqued my intrigue.  This book was definitely a good introduction to Frank DeFord, the novelist.

BLISS, REMEMBERED tells the story of Sydney “Trixie” Stringfellow, a swimmer whose short-lived renaissance at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin completely altered the course of her life.  After the events revealed in the novel, beginning at the Berlin Games, Sydney lives a full life, complete with a husband and two children.  Her oldest, Teddy, is especially close to her and at the end of her life she decides to tell her story with him as her listener.  The novel begins with Teddy’s visit to his mother’s home in Eugene, Oregon, and the telling of her story.  DeFord provides Sydney with a distinct and effortlessly well-crafted narrative voice.  Her personality and vitality resonate throughout the book, even as the action of Sydney’s past grows grim.

Overall, BLISS, REMEMBERED will be remembered by me as a well-told story.  DeFord makes it easy to empathize with his characters as he endows them with with believable vitality.  The prose is a pleasure to read, it is clear that DeFord has an effortless handle of the English language.  Finally, the novel’s action is unpredictable and interesting.  BLISS, REMEMBERED is an enjoyable book I am glad I was able to get my hands on.

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