JUMP IN THE WAVES: A Memoir by Jacqueline Piatigorsky


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A memoir by the widow of the great Russian cellist Gregor Piatigorsky. NÉe Rothschild, Jacqueline found that name to be as much a hindrance as a privilege. Sheltered from birth in Talleyrand's palace overlooking the Parisian Tuileries Gardens, young Jacqueline was shunned by parents too busy to nurture, and terrorized by her nanny. Thus her opening: ""Fear is the story of my life. Envy, ungratefulness, confusion filled my youth."" Readers expecting an informative memoir of life with the great cellist should go back to Piatigorsky's own book, Cellist: Jacqueline devotes almost as many pages to her youthful obsession with the great pianist Alfred Cortot (whom she followed everywhere--despite his marriage, and her own arranged and ultimately unsuccessful first marriage--until Cortot finally shot her down). The point of Jacqueline's memoir, in the end, is how love was able to solidify her life and overcome the awful fears, anguish, and feelings of worthlessness that were cultivated in her as a child. Even her escape from her situation--playing chess in a comer with her sister for hours--became part of her salvation, as in later years she became a prominent figure in the world of grandmaster chess (despite being told by tutors that she would never succeed at anything, she rose to be one of the top ten women chess players in the US). A story, then, of the triumph of hope over futility. The author glories in her transferral from ""material richness to the richness of art and to real richness, human richness.

Pub Date: Aug. 24th, 1988
Publisher: St. Martin's