Madeleines & Mandelbrodt

I received an amusing reader letter speculating about the connection between Proust’s madeleine and mandelbrodt.

 Dear Ms. Zevin:  I am enjoying A.J. Fikry enormously. Your mention of Proust raised this memory, and I thought it would interest you.

I bake mandelbrot, which my old Jewish friends from Siberia and Poland tell me is exactly like what their mothers used to bake.  Also a friend XXXX told me they are what her mama in southern Italy made.  NPR reported that the madeleines in Proust’s story were really dried rusk type of cookies.  Not at all like the madeleines that are sold under that title today.  I checked, and learned that Proust’s mother was born Jewish.  Mandelbrot, of course!  If  you would like to have  my great recipe for those cookies, let me know.

Google will not  confirm this for me, but I like the idea that Proust may have been biting into mandelbrodt. Either way, I have requested that the reader send me her recipe. When one is offered a “great recipe,” it is foolish not to accept. 

Also, the paperback version of A.J. Fikry debuted at number nine on the New York Times Best Seller Paperback Trade Fiction list, right between Murakami and E.L. James.

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4 thoughts on “Madeleines & Mandelbrodt

  1. Ms Zevin, I picked up “The Storied Life of AJ Fikry” at Target last week. You know, stopping by to pick up Kleenex and moisturizers and dish soap, and I just happened to wander into the book area and leave with 4 new books. I finished AJ’s story last night and so enjoyed the book.

    I nearly stopped breathing when AJ started having word problems, and then had his pass-out episode. I knew what his problem was before the chapter with the oncologist started…..he had a brain tumor, as do I. Mine isn’t as severe as his, and I may make it 20 years if things go well. I had no idea of this aspect of the book, nor if I had, would it have changed me buying it. But it was wild to read someone else’s experience of getting a crappy diagnosis like that.

    I don’t have any deep, poetic thoughts to share with you but I sat in the quiet of my bedroom for close to an hour, just floating through that story and thinking that it was a unique experience to have a book hit that close to home. And, it’s been on my mind since then, and I think it will be for sometime to come.

    So, thank you for that and for such a lovely story.


    Sara F Shorter

  2. Hi, I wrote to you on the other site of yours, about posting a review a few minutes ago on Amazon. How I enjoyed this book, and wept. My life is entirely synchronous. Just before reading your book, purchased in Cambridge at the H. Coop, I had written to my son about Proust and his madeleines, in connection with how we associate, connecting sights, smells, events, words, together to make unique personal memories, and how one memory triggers the other, as in Proust. I always think about his “madeleines” because my son’s daughter, my eldest granddaughter now nine, is named Madeline. Of course I also think: Bemelman and that Madeline! Cheers! ruth housman

  3. Hi Gabrielle,

    My name is David (not Andy) Griffith, and we met last Thursday at the Ridgefield Library for your “Author Talk.”

    As I mentioned, I’m the Ridgefield High School Reading Department Head, and I have the enviable and awesome job of turning reluctant readers into life-long readers!

    To this end, it would be wonderful if you could chat with my students through SKYPE about the life-changing power of reading! I know you’re busily promoting the paperback release of The Storied Life of AJ Fikry, so I greatly appreciate any time you can spare.

    Thanks again for offering to speak with my students, and I look forward to hearing from you and to scheduling a day/time to SKYPE!


    David Griffith

  4. Congrats!! I am so happy to see you are on wordpress!! Me too!!! 🙂 I just started reading your book and it is no surprise that it is a NY TImes Best Seller!!! Congratulations!!!
    As a writer with hopes to be published – do you have any tips? If its not too forward for me to ask- did you go through an agent or were you self published? I saw something about being an indi book. Anyway, we are reading your book for book club and I am so happy that we are- I cannot put it down. So happy to connect!! 🙂

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