By Nily Naiman
Key Themes: poetry, mental health, love, extension of the novel, “Tambourine”, fictional
“Poems for Andres” are Anna’s cries of despair over the loss of her beloved husband, Andres. Her mental state is such that she dives into her guilt, almost relishing her anguish, as she calls to mind the symbol of the bond between Andres and her, the flamenco, their dance of passion and love.
She will bear forever the burden of her self blame for Andres’ death. If only she had insisted that they not take the train for the last leg of their journey to the Spanish border, if only she had followed her instincts and convinced Andres not to trust the well meaning judgment of the French couple who had befriended them and assured them that there were no more Nazi soldiers in the area, Andres and the rest of their Gypsy clan would still be alive.
The poems are an extension of the novel, “Tambourine”, and it is recommended that the story be read in conjunction with them. They are Anna’s expression of hopelessness through Gypsy lament as she suffers in her agony.
About the Author
Born in Israel in 1953, Nily Naiman grew up among Holocaust survivors and their children. Israel of the 1950’s was a confused mix of conflicting cultures, traditions, and tragic personal histories, all grating against each other in a new society struggling to define itself. This was the bewildering brew into which she was born. Her work is inspired by her childhood memories of the stories of her parents and their contemporaries.
Only now has she begun writing down the pieces of her life that are incorporated into her fiction. Her first novel, “Ahuva”, set entirely in Israel, has been published in the U.S.