LETTER FROM ITHACA

December 10, 2004

Hello again. This letter to the Sander faithful around the world is intended to make up for my unconscionable and prolonged silence.

Sorry, but to use perhaps the most overused, and essentially meaningless words in the English language, I have been–busy. The same four deadening words that people use as their excuse for not being in touch. What a hypocrite I am!

Anyway, heretofore I promise to write all of you wonderful, wonderful people out there, (as they used to say in the old days) whether I am busy or not.

That said, here is the latest from the various departments of the ever-expanding Sander Zone!

HOME AND HEARTH

After much hammering and schlepping back and forth from downtown Ithaca to Cayuga Heights, I can finally announce that I have moved into my new apartment and advanced creative field headquarters but a short hop, skip, and pedal away from Sibley Hall here at my old alma mater, working away at this and that, like the true prodigal son come home. What can I say? Now that I have properly decked it out in proverbial Sander-cum-Kurt Schwitters style, with over 60 of my images hanging from the walls, interspersed with diverse disjecta membra from around the world, like the great dada father of them, I can finally say I love my large, spacious, and quirky apartment overlooking a stream half a mile off campus. Where else in the world could I find a two-bedroom apartment as large as a West Side co-op, with a private entrance overlooking a glen with its own stream, complete with live raccoons peeping in through the windows (along with the occasional inebriated student floating by), cheek-by-jowl with the campus of one of the greatest research universities in the world, for one quarter the cost of my last apartment — er, flat — in Islington, which I dearly loved but also bled me dearly?

Where else, but in exotic Ithaca, New York!

Of course, everyone wants to know what is happening with the book. Although I don’t have the sales figures, by all reports, “The Frank Family” continues to sell well both in the UK, and — to judge from the emails I have received from you wonderful, wonderful people out there in cyberland, who have been ordering one, two, four, and in several cases, even more copies of my obra maestra — even better over the ‘Net. Keep it up!

Speaking of the ‘Net, I was particularly thrilled to find that one of the UK’s top websites, thisiswiltshire.co.uk featuring my book as its top suggested Christmas book of the year!
(Yes, that’s a hint.) And did I remind you that “The Frank Family That Survived” makes an excellent Channukah and/or Christmas gift? Okay, okay, I know you how to take a hint. (And did I?–)

Meantime, after a long and somewhat vexing silence on the European literary front (and believe me, publishing a book internationally is very much like a war), I am pleased to report that there has been a real breakthrough in the Netherlands, where the book has gone to auction, with several of the country’s best-known publishers bidding for the rights to publish the book in Dutch.

After considerable reflection, I have decided to give the book to the Prometheus, known as one of Holland’s most prestigious publishers of fine literature and history, where I will be joining a stable of such international literary stars as Umberto Eco (neigh!). Of all the foreign markets I wanted to “crack,” Holland, where most of the book is sited, was the most meaningful. Needless to say, my mother, who still speaks fluent Dutch and occasionally still rues the day when she left Holland for America (to which, of course, I have no idea what to say) is thrilled.
And just for the record, to all of you wonderful, wonderful people in Tallinn, Helsinki, Mariehamn, Stockholm, London, Frankfurt, Mainz, The Hague, and Amsterdam who provided me with accommodations, contacts, coffee, lifts to the airport, lifts to the ferry, et. al, and other forms of encouragement and sustenance of both the real and the spiritual kind during my circumnavigation of Northern Europe: Aitah! Kittos! Tack! Dank je wel! Dankeschon! Thanks so much!

I am in no doubt that with the aid and support of my extraordinary extended international support system “The Frank Family That Survived” will achieve its destiny as one of the most unique historical/memoirs to emerge from The Second World War, as well as the Holocaust.

Until then, in the words of the wartime Dutch slogan, OZO! Which translates as: ORANGE WILL WIN!

(And did I tell you that “The Frank Family That Survived” makes a wonderful–)

C-TOWN BLUES, OR: THE GREAT EXPERIMENT.

No sooner than had I arrived back in Ithaca — in fact, within 30 minutes of doing so — I was in the offices of The Cornell Daily Sun, where long ago I toiled as an aspiring H.L. Mencken, and whose editors decided to take the massive risk of serializing my first novel, tentatively entitled C-Town Blues, putting the final touches on the historic first installment. That excerpt, in which I reprise what Election Eve 1968 was like for my fictive alter ego, Harold Rothman ’72 — wherein the Democratic candidate, then Hubert Humphrey, took an early lead, only to be overtaken by the Republican nominee, Richard Nixon, in the wee hours, eerily presaging (as I had feared) the outcome of Election Eve 2004 — was published the first morning I arrived back in Ithaca, even before I had managed to unpack my bags.

Well, now that my bags are unpacked, and The Great Experiment is officially underway. Reaction was sufficiently positive for the editors to commit themselves to running extracts of the novel through the rest of the school year. The first three installments are archived elsewhere on this capacious, and ever-expanding website. Check it out!

And special thanks to my wonderful new assistant Nicole Shostak, who has proven a worthy successor to her esteemed predecessors, the Right Honorable Sarah Jacobs Cornell ’06, Erin Geld ’07, and David Schoonover ’05, the designer of this brilliant website!

Always,

Gordon

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