New in paperback this month is Bliss, Remembered, Frank Deford's wonderful novel starring a fictional Olympic swimming hopeful Sydney Stringfellow. The book follows Sydney's life from 1934, when she was a lonely 16-year-old innocent growing up in the Depression in a small town on The Eastern Shore of Maryland, until 1942, when war with Germany has begun and she finds herself personally caught up in it in a way she could never have imagined. Sydney tells this story to her son, Teddy, in 2004. By then, she is an old woman, dying of cancer, but she is still charming and feisty and determined to finally let her son know of the fascinating events that so changed her young life - and all that followed.
Bliss, Remembered is both a love story and a historical thriller, making it a great choice for summer reading. Deford mixes in real-life figures, swimming star Eleanor Holm and filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl, in his razor-sharp depiction of the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
Author Frank Deford, author of sixteen books, is often recognized as the finest sports writer of his era, his highly-praised historical novels have ranged far afield. Besides Bliss, Remembered, he has written about such varied topics as the polio epidemic (An American Summer), reincarnation (The Other Adonis) and Japan before Pearl Harbor (Love and Infamy). His story about modern celebrity, The Entitled, is often also cited as the best novel ever written about the sport of baseball. Frank Deford is a commentator every Wednesday on Morning Edition on National Public Radio.