Poet and novelist Rosner (The Speed of Light) has written anelegiac story of an emotionally and creatively starved artist andhis muse. Danzig is 58, a German painter whose once promisingcareer has stagnated into teaching life drawing classes at SanFrancisco's Art Institute. Then Merav appears, a lovely Israeliwoman, also an artist, who models in his classroom. Merav struggleswith instinctual distrust of Danzig: "The poses she took in thefirst session were all in the shape of fear: a woman turning awayfrom something threatening; a body in flight; the curled-up shapeof self-defense, protecting the heart, the belly." When Danzig asksMerav if she will model for him privately, she's reluctant, buttheir relationship evolves. The present diverges to the past, andRosner develops her protagonists as though they are pieces of art,slowly becoming unveiled. Although their backgrounds aredivergent--Danzig lived in fear of his father while Merav grew upin the safety of a kibbutz without one - their interior lives aresimilar. Rosner's multilayered composition is rendered inbeautiful, spare prose and will resonate long after the lastpage.