My book, A Peek at Bathsheba, includes a sighting of Bathsheba at mouth of a cave, located just above the Kidron valley, near Jerusalem. The setting immediately brought to my mind A Woman Bathing in a Stream, painted in 1655 by Rembrandt, immediately after he painted Bathsheba at Her Bath.
During the history of art, most artists portrayed Bathsheba as a fleshy, mature woman. They often placed her in a lush outdoor scenery, such as a royal garden, with flowing water or with a fountain. Spotting a forbidden woman in a setting reminiscent of the Garden of Eden is a tempting fantasy, and quite a departure from the biblical account, that states she was bathing on her roof. Artists go after their own heart—and so, indeed, do writers—to suggest the emotional essence of the story.
Rembrandt places his figure not in a garden, but in a cave with a pool of water, which is at once an outdoor and indoor scene (and in Bathsheba at Her Bath he presented her in an indoor scene, in her bedroom.)
Unlike paintings done by other artists—depicting Susanna and the Elders, Bathsheba, or the goddess Diana, who were all spied upon while bathing—this painting does not show the peeping man. Instead, Rembrandt supplants him by you, the viewer. Also, the woman in his painting is in control of the situation, rather than a victim of it.
Rembrandt worked mostly with a grays, browns, and blacks, setting objects back by plunging them into this dark tone, and bringing them forward by shining a bright light directly upon them, creating stark contrasts. The resulting image is sculptural in nature, and strikingly dramatic.
Clearly, the composition of my watercolor painting is inspired by his admirable art, shares a similar spirit of intimacy, and maintains a loving respect for the model. Here is my approach, my homage to it, which illuminates the new vision I use for the story.
I strive to maintain a sculptural feel for Bathsheba, but take the freedom to play with a splash of colors, so as to draw contrasts between cool and warm hues. I create a variety of textures, using a loose, spontaneous brushstroke. This I achieve by applying puddles of pigments over Yupo paper, which (unlike traditional watercolor paper) is non-absorbent. I let these puddles drip in some places, and in other places, I lift and shape them into careful designs, using various tools.
The font selected for the title depicts a regal, dynamically slanted, and rather grandiose handwriting style, just the way I imagine David’s penmanship in his private diary.
By contrast to the title, the font selected for the name of the trilogy—The David Chronicles—is a more formal one, and it is presented in capitals. This adheres to the font scheme for the cover of the first volume, Rise to Power.
At the top, the letters are bathed in golden light, which fades gradually towards the bottom. Down there, they are soaked in a blood red color, as befits this dramatic affair of love and war.
A Peek at Bathsheba is one volume out of a trilogy. Therefore I am designing the spines of all three covers to have a matching feel in terms of the image and font scheme. So when you place them on your bookshelf, one spine next to the other, all three volumes will visually belong together. Together they will grace the look of your library.
Detail from the cover of A Peek at Bathsheba
★ Love historical fiction? Treat yourself to a gift★
At that second it dawns on me—I understand, in its entirety, my mother’s plan; which nearly brings me to split my sides and roar with laughter—but at a single hint from her, I hold it in. No need for other people to hear us.
Intoxicated, I marvel in her plan; and in my mind I shout: My God, this is so clever! So deceitful! This costume, I think, is so much fun! Designed for the pleasure, so to speak, of a blind man... Ha! What does he know! That damn blessing may yet be mine, after all.
In my excitement I stumble across a thought, which is so outlandish that immediately, it makes me sober up. “What if he suspects something,” I ask, in a whisper. I hate to admit it, but it is not love for my father, nor respect for his age, that drive me to such hesitation. Rather, it is fear: The fear to be found out.
She lowers her eyes, thinking intensely, searching for an answer.
So I press on: “What if he touches me? He will guess, perhaps, that I am not the son I pretend to be; and so, instead of a blessing, I will end up, God forbid, being cursed!”
What can she say, I wonder. True, my mother is close to me. We could always think alike. But for the life of me, I cannot understand her right now. She is the mother of twins, so in my mind, she should love us both, in fairly equal measures. In the years to come I would often wonder: Why would a woman do this, why would she pit one son against another?
This is how Yankle describes the plot, which his mother Becky (Rebecca) conceives to cheat both Esav, her other son, and her husband Isaac who is lying on his deathbed. Her plan is for Yankle to fool his blind father, and wear a costume, pretending to be his twin brother. When she tells Yankle, "On me your sin, my son," it is not love for him that drives her. This is the moment depicted in my sculpture of Rebecca: her hand gesture is meant to wave away his fears--but at the same time, it is only herself that she hugs. You can see nother view of this piece here.
★ Love literary fiction? Treat yourself to a gift ★
I am honored to get this review is from a reader who is not only a truck driver who has seen most of the continental US through her work, and who is a poet as well! Cindy J. Smith is the author of Voices In My Head and other books. This is what she wrote about Rise to Power:
5.0 out of 5 starsDavid's story unabridged, June 18, 2014
This review is from: Rise to Power (The David Chronicles Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Uvi has written a powerful story of King David from the bible, an "autobiography" of sorts. It starts with David being old and possibly mentally infirm. He decides to tell the true story of his early years.
I love the statement she makes about history being the story the victors want you to believe. It is so true of most historical facts.
Her story relates a version of David that I have always felt to be true. I never could figure out why he is revered as a pious man when his actions belied the description.
This book is well written and I believe the series will be a great accomplishment.
Against the backdrop of wars, raging within the land and without, David is growing into the mantle of leadership. Between his anointment as a tribal king and his anointment as the king of all of Israel, he uses wisdom, cunning, and his own understanding of the forces of history, aiming for high ideals: stopping the bloodshed, uniting the nation and bringing about healing and peace.
But then, having reached his peak, David falters. He makes a serious error that threatens to undo his political success, and cost him not only the adoration of his people—but also the sense of being sustained by a divine power. That error is most torrid tale of passion ever told: his deliciously forbidden love for Bathsheba, and his attempt to cover up the ensuing scandal by sending her husband—who serves him faithfully in his army—to his death.
This is volume II of the trilogy The David Chronicles, told candidly by the king himself. David uses modern language, indicating that this is no fairytale. Rather, it is a story that happens here and now. Listen to his voice as he undergoes a profound change, realizing the magnitude of his sin, and the curse looming over his entire future.
★ Love historical fiction? Treat yourself to a gift★
Just found a short and sweet review by the author of Psychic Perception, Daily Meditations, and other books, Candy O'Donnell. Candy earned a Bachelor's degree in History and Culture in 2010, so I am thrilled that this is what she wrote about my historical fiction novel, Rise to Power:
5.0 out of 5 starsLoved Uvi's book!, June 18, 2014
This review is from: Rise to Power (The David Chronicles Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
If you are in the market for great writing and a great story, pick up Uvi's book and check it out. The cover is amazing, but her cover always are and her writing... is incredible. Thanks, Uvi for a great read!
'Rise To Power' is the first in a series of books charting the life and times of Kind David. Yes, the Biblical King David. But if you think this is going to be a religious, pious retelling of the story, you would be mistaken. This is the book's power, and what makes it so accessible to any reader, irrespective of their religion - or lack of it.
The subject himself is well aware of the sycophantic scribblings of the official historians of his day. In this account, he attempts to set the record straight, and present himself, with all his failings, to the reader's scrutiny.
In this first volume of his memoirs, we see the young, ambitious, ruthless David who will stop at virtually nothing to achieve his dreams of power and greatness. He will see King Saul off his throne - but will stop short of killing him, or of publicly condoning anyone else for doing so. He takes any woman he desires, even the married ones, and, as for Goliath...
David knows all about creating a popular public image. He knows how to attract support, and when he needs to resist his natural urge to seize power. He's in it for the long game, and his understanding of what makes humans 'tick' is impressive. The author has presented King David as a seriously flawed character, but a fascinating one - perhaps because of that.
An exciting read. I was hooked from the beginning. Others have mentioned the slightly controversial use of modern idiomatic language which maybe shouldn't have worked but, for me, it did. And it added a new dimension to this work. I look forward to part two and thoroughly recommend 'Rise To Power'
Skadi Winter is the author of HEXE, the story of young girl, born during the coldest winter people could remember in a remote German village shortly after WWII. I am deeply moved by her review of my novel, Apart From Love:
5.0 out of 5 starsApart from Love - a beautifully written unusual novel, June 17, 2014
Uvi Poznanski's book is fascinatingly different from the usual love story or family affair story.
We are introduced to a dysfunctional, broken family relationship of a father, Lenny, his son Ben, his wife, a music artist called Natasha and to Anita.
While Natasha is suffering from the early onset of Alzheimer's disease and is living in a care home and Lenny has divorced her, Ben thinks for years that his mother is on a world tour and has left them. Because of an affair of his father with Anita, an ice cream parlour waitress, whom he later takes as his second wife, Ben has left home and returns only after 10 years while his father has been taken to hospital.
While the story unfolds, we learn from an old tape recorder, which Lenny is using to spy on the most intimate thoughts of his son under the premise to use the recordings to write a book.
The tape recorder functions more and more as a diary of Ben and Anita, who are drawn to each other behind Lenny's back as Anita only is insignificantly younger than Ben. The reader , in my view, functions as a keyhole viewer or maybe a psychoanalyst, watching the dynamics of the family unfold from a safe place. But, is this such a safe place? Have we not all, the readers, more or less experienced similar scenarios in our own life?
Each of the characters tells us about their situation from their point of view over the tape recordings, thus emotionally involving the reader: dependency, love, rivalry, hurt, mistrust, need, secrets and betrayal - insight into a family world we all know.
I only have discovered Uvi Poznanski recently and after reading 'Apart from Love' I downloaded two more books of her, 'Home' and 'Rise to Power'.
Uvi brilliantly portrays the different characters in 'Apart from Love' and successfully involves the reader to reflect on them. Her language is very skillful and calm, even gentle and thus never fails to paint the picture of society's life 'behind the scene'.
It certainly is not the average 'every-day-book', it is great writing art. I admit, I will read the book again, to finally let it sink in. All I can say now is, I loved it.
I strongly recommend Uvi's books to readers who are looking for more then shades of colours or blood thirsty creatures. Uvi is a writer who's books will stay with you, the fine art of a most sensitive and skillful artist. If there were more than 5 stars, I sure would add them.
"Just say something to me. Anything." And I thought, Any other word apart from Love, 'cause that word is diluted, and no one knows what it really means, anyway. Uvi Poznansky explores the intricate and complex world of love in ‘Apart From Love’. The characters reveal the hidden recesses of their mind as the story unfolds. A delightful narrative that encompasses all the aspects of life: love, loss, suffering, pain and hope. The main characters Ben and Anita are drawn to each other despite the complexities of their life and existence. In a rather unusual way they discover themselves. The journey is filled with heartbreak, sheer devastation and loneliness. However, despite the odds, despite the overwhelming weight of guilt, a light shines at the end of the dark tunnel. What are the odds of Ben and Anita finding a place for each other in their turbulent world? Will they find anything apart from love? Will they find love? Discover the meaning of love hidden in poignant lines, poetically woven to create a canvas of life. Feel the seismic tremors of dark secrets, unbridled passion and a flame that just refuses to quell. A beautiful narrative that highlights Poznansky’s adept handling of plot & language and takes you into the mind of a dysfunctional family grappling with universal issues of love, betrayal and forgiveness. Discover ‘Apart From Love’ and connect with a great artist of our times, an artist that transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary and turns everything that she writes to gold with her Midas like touch.
Sitting nearly immobile, Saul seems as chalky as the walls around him. He sits crumpled—in an odd way—upon the throne. His nails keep digging into the little velvety cushions that are stretched over the carved armrests. Not once does he give a nod in my direction, nor does he acknowledge my presence in any other way.
Which agitates me. It awakens my doubt, doubt in my skill. Much the same as I feel in my father’s presence. Repressed. On the verge of acting out.
So, rising to my feet I blurt out, “Your majesty—”
“Don’t talk,” whispers one of the attendants. “Play.”
I am pushed a step or two backwards, so as to maintain proper distance from the presence of the king. My name is called out in a clunky manner of introduction, after which I am instructed to choose from an array of musical instruments. I figure they must be the loot of war. So when I play them, the music of enemy tribes shall resound here, around the hall.
I pluck the strings of a sitar, then put it back down and pick up a lyre, which I make quiver, quiver with notes of fire! Then I rap, clap, tap, snap my fingers, and just to be cute, play a tune on my flute, after which I do a skip, skip, skip and a back flip.
It is a long performance, and towards the end of it I find myself trying to catch my breath. Alas, my time is up. Even so I would not stop.
Entranced I go on to recite several of my poems, which I have never done before, for fear of exposing my most intimate, raw emotions, which is a risky thing for a man, and even riskier for a boy my age. Allowing your vulnerability to show takes one thing above all: a special kind of courage. Trust me, it takes balls.
So, having read the last verse I cast a look at the attendants, especially the ones closest to me. Their faces seem to have softened. I can sense them beginning to adore me. One of them comes over and taps my shoulder, which nearly knocks me off my feet. Another one laughs. Others wipe their eyes.
Then I glance at Saul, hoping for a tear, a smile, a word of encouragement. Instead I note an odd, vacant look on his face. Utter indifference. It stings me. Am I too short, too young, too curly for the role he has in mind for me?
The voice for the audiobook addition is simply regal. David George has a deep, resonant voice, the way I have imagined for the role of David, and he lets it change and mature as David grows up, starting as a young, carefree boy coming to the court from Bethlehem, through his adventures as a fugitive from the law, and ending as an young king. The story in Rise to power starts and ends in the voice of the old king, finding himself compelled to tell his story, which differs from the official version recounted by his historians. So you get a complete sense of him through the aging and deepening of the voice.
Detail from a painting by Erasmus Quellin II
★ Love historical fiction? Treat yourself to a gift★
I wrote this story the way I imagined my father seeing his journey, when his family escaped into the depth of Russia as a small child: "There he sits, pressed in between bundles and things that keep rattling around him, on top of a horse-driven wagon. Looking up at his parents he can sense something big, something fearful and unspoken casting a shadow over them; and they bend their heads together over him and his sister. He can see an endless line in front, an endless line in back – horses and wagons, wagons and horses as far as the eye can see – all advancing towards the same gray, unclear horizon, all escaping towards the same destination: Unknown.
The sun rises in front of the wagons, and sets behind them. Towns appear and disappear. Rivers pass by, then forests, brick houses, motels. In Minsk they stop. He finds the three-story hotel quite fascinating at first, especially the curved rail of the staircase, which is meant, no doubt, for sliding down and yelling at the top of your voice. Of course, landing down on your butt, he finds out, is an entirely different matter – and so is the harsh, unforgiving look cast down at him by the hotelkeeper.
They settle down for the night. In the rented room, his mommy blesses the Sabbath candles. Her hands are tightly clasped, her eyes closed. And early the next morning they mount the wagon again, and the journey goes on in the dim light, guided by nothing but an instinct to survive, farther and farther away from home.
Squinting at the rising sun, Zeev finds it more and more difficult to keep his eyes open. His mind is going numb listening to the wheels as they spin and turn, beating incessantly against the mud. Cold rain starts coming down at him, sheet after sheet, and streaming in the same direction is the wet mane of the horse. Its head keeps bobbing up and down, up and down in front. When will it end? Where can they go?
Many days pass by – he cannot count them any more – until, one evening, as they travel along the river, a big town comes into view, closer and closer against the smoky blue backdrop of the Ural Mountains.
This, his daddy tells him, is Saratov."
My father was born 1912, and the story above is how I imagine the story of the family, escaping their home on the eve of World War I, which started on August 1, 1914 with the German declaration of war on Russia. Always an army town, the fortress of Brisk was now flooded with Russian military personnel, and many private houses were requisitioned to accommodate them. Late in July 1915, with the installation of new hospitals in town, it became clear that the front was fast approaching Brisk De-Lita.
Rumors of evacuation were heard and the Russian army was to fortify the east bank of the Bug River; but when the German army captured Warsaw on August 4, the Fort Commandant gave the civilian population in Brisk three days to evacuate. Imagine the panic amongst the Jews, who owned most of the businesses, when they had to abandon their belongings and flee for their lives.
When the German army marched into Brisk on August 25, it was a town without people, but with a great abundance of merchandise in the stores. And on the eve of Yom Kippur, the 18th of September, they entered Slonim, a neighboring city, and pressed on into Russia.
By that time, the family was already far away from the frontline. A long, dragged out journey had begun.