The Wildest Beauty
Inspired by Alain-Fournier’s French classic Le Grand Meaulnes, ‘The Wildest Beauty’ is about the irresistible transition from childhood to sexual adolescence, and the longing for adventure and desire.
The novel opens in the English town of Alcester late in the Edwardian period, and concludes in the early 1930s. Joseph Amery writes of Rufus Wheeler’s arrival ‘on a morning when the promise of spring was irrefutable.’ Rufus is dreamy and restless. He becomes lost during a nocturnal jaunt in the countryside, and is mistaken for a guest at an extravagant birthday party. At the celebration, he meets Imogen Fellham, the younger of two upper-crust sisters, and falls in love with her. Despite the class divide, Rufus’s life becomes devoted to finding Imogen again.
In the section that follows, whilst serving in the trenches during The Great War, Joseph nostalgically recalls Rufus’s quest for the elusive Imogen, and the impact his obsession has on the boys’ Alcester life. Imogen’s older sister, Cinnamon, continues the story in the next part of the novel, relating Joseph’s friendship with Imogen, Rufus’s belated reunion with her, and Imogen’s tragic death during childbirth in the south of France.
Imogen’s daughter Beatrice narrates the final section. She is a young woman determined to find out more about her absent father, Rufus, as well as the role Joseph Amery played in Imogen’s luminous life.
Tales of Freedom
‘Tales of Freedom’, based on a film script I wrote while in graduate school at USC (for which I won a university-wide award), is an emotive narrative celebrating survival, resistance, and the wellsprings of storytelling.
In German occupied Prague of 1942, Rivka Langerová, storyteller, wife to Jacob, and mother to Motti and Hana, is determined to save her family. After senior SS Officer Alfred Wenzel murders her husband, Rivka and the children hide with the Kliment family in the countryside. When the Langers’ sanctuary is discovered, Jan Kliment rescues the children, but Rivka is left behind. Fleeing northwards, Rivka is picked up by a Jewish partisan unit. She falls in love with second-in-command Karel Steinberg, never forsaking her dream of finding her Hana and Motti.
Two years on, Rivka re-encounters Jan, and learns that her children safely reached the Italian coast on a ship bound for Palestine. With Jan and Karel, Rivka risks everything and travels back to Prague to avenge Jacob’s death. Despite the intense peril faced, she succeeds in killing Wenzel. Tragically, Jan also loses his life. At war’s end, Rivka and Karel travel across a broken Europe, and make it to the Holy Land. After months of searching, Rivka is at last reunited with her beloved children.