Thaisa Frank

Thaisa Frank portrait image to appear alongside the Thaisa Frank biography.

The fiction of Thaisa Frank, according to the New York Times, works by "a tantalizing sense of indirection." Of her debut novel HEIDEGGER'S GLASSES Dan Chaon says "This is stunning work, full of mystery and strange tenderness. Thaisa Frank has written one of the most compelling stories of the Nazi Regime since D.M. Thomas's PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION. It is a book that will haunt you." Jim Moret of The Huffington Post has called it a "tour de force." And Publishers Weekly's starred review described Frank's vision of the Holocaust original and startling." Before publication, foreign rights were sold to Italy, France, Spain, Norway, Holland, Portugal, Poland, Brazil, Mainland Chine and Taiwan.

HEIDEGGER'S GLASSES opens during the end of World War II in a failing Germany coming apart at its seams. The Third Reich's strong reliance on the occult and its obsession with the astral plane has led to the formation of an underground compound of scribes--translators responsible for answering letters written to those eventually killed in the concentration camps.

Into this covert compound comes a letter written by eminent philosopher Martin Heidegger to his optometrist, a man now lost in the dying thralls of Auschwitz. How will the scribes answer this letter? The presence of Heidegger's words--one simple letter in a place filled with letters - sparks a series of events that will ultimately threaten the safety and well-being of the entire compound.

Part love story, part thriller, part meditation on how the dead are remembered and history is presented, with threads of Heidegger's philosophy woven throughout, the novel evocatively illustrates the Holocaust through an almost dreamlike state. Thaisa Frank deftly reconstructs the landscape of Nazi Germany from an entirely original vantage point.

According to Booklist, HEIDEGGER'S GLASSES is written in the spare minimal style that won Thaisa Frank admiration for her short story collections, among them A BRIEF HISTORY OF CAMOUFLAGE and SLEEPING IN VELVET. She is the co-author of FINDNG YOUR WRITER'S VOICE, which is used in MFA programs and has taught in the graduate programs of San Francisco State University, The University of San Francisco, and Honors English at the University of California at Berkeley. She has conducted numerous writing workshop and written essays, including a recent Afterward in Viking/Penguin's VOLTAIRE.

Frank originally wrote the first 16 pages over twelve years ago, and discarded them because she didn't think of herself as a novelist. The 16 pages kept popping out--under tax forms, her child's lunch box - as if on marionette strings. When she got the galleys for the book she realized those 16 pages were the DNA of the book and the imagination has phalanges that reach far out into history. You can read about this on her blog and find out more about her at www.thaisafrank.com.

Thaisa Frank books reviewed

Bibliography

  • Heidegger's Glasses (2010)
    Heidegger’s Glasses opens during the end of World War II in a failing Germany coming apart at the seams. The Third Reich’s strong reliance on the occult and its obsession with the astral plane has led to the formation of an underground compound of scribes—translators responsible for answering letters written to those eventually killed in the concentration camps. Into this covert compound comes a letter written by eminent philosopher Martin Heidegger to his optometrist, who is now lost in the dying thralls of Auschwitz. How will the scribes answer this letter? The presence of Heidegger’s words—one simple letter in a place filled with letters—sparks a series of events that will ultimately threaten the safety and well-being of the entire compound. Part love story, part thriller, part meditation on how the dead are remembered and history presented, with threads of Heidegger’s philosophy woven throughout, the novel evocatively illustrates the Holocaust through an almost dreamlike state. Thaisa Frank deftly reconstructs the landscape of Nazi Germany from an entirely original vantage point.
  • Enchantment: New and Selected Stories (2012)
    The short fiction of Thaisa Frank has captivated readers for two decades, and now many of those pieces are collected in one volume, along with several new stories. In the title story, a lonely mother and housewife orders an enchanted man from a website called The Wondrous Traveler, who arrives with instructions for use and a list of frequently asked questions about enchantment. In "Thread," two circus performers who pass through the eye of a needle become undone by a complicated love triangle. In "Henna," a young writing teacher must contend with an exotic student who will not write, her hands covered in dye and her fingers "sprouting innumerable gardens." And in "The Loneliness of the Midwestern Vampire," the undead descend upon the heartland of the country and become accustomed to its friendlier way of life, attending barn raisings and feasting on cattle in an attempt to normalize their darker passions. These are vibrant, compelling stories that examine the distance between imagination and reality, and how characters bridge that gap in their attempt to reach one another.

Critical acclaim