Picks and Pans Review: Talking With...
A SUBJECT CLOSE TO HOME, TOO CLOSE
THE NET OF DREAMS—IN PART HER family's Holocaust history—was not the book Salamon, a former film reviewer for The Wall Street Journal, set out to write. A few years ago, she returned to the area near her hometown of Seaman, Ohio, to lecture on her bestseller about the making of a movie, The Devil's Candy: "The Bonfire of the Vanities" Goes to Hollywood. "The place had really changed," she says. "It was poor when I lived there, but beautiful, and now modern times had caught up. I wanted to do a book about that."
An editor at Random House who read Salamon's 50-page proposal was intrigued by a single sentence: "My parents were Holocaust survivors." Why don't you write about that? the editor wanted to know. But the Holocaust wasn't territory Salamon, 42, was eager to sound. Her mother, Lily, rarely discussed her internment at Auschwitz. Her doctor father, Sanyi, who died of lung cancer two days after Salamon's 18th birthday, had lost his first wife and 2-year-old daughter at Auschwitz and was silent on the subject. "But the editor planted a bug in my ear," says the author. "Then I read that Schindler's List was about to be filmed in Poland by Steven Spielberg, whom I knew, and I thought, 'I'll go to the set and it will come to me.' "
What ultimately came to her, she says, is part family history, part mythology. "I tried to be as reportorial as I could, but a lot of it is based on memories drawn from family and friends," says Salamon, who lives in Manhattan with her husband, an ABC News executive, and their two children. "I felt I really did find my father. My mother lives so much in the present, it was hard to get her back to the past. You can't make sense of the Holocaust, but I finally learned to make sense of my parents."