A new novel of mine, The Ash Tree, has been published by West of West Books in conjunction with the April 24, 2015 centenary of the Armenian genocide; it recounts the lives of an Armenian-American family and the sweep of their history in the twentieth century - particularly from the points of view of two women in the family as it builds a new life in California.
There are three other novels of mine - one is Pathological States, about a physician's family in L.A. in 1962, which is as yet unpublished; another is Hungry Generations, about a young composer's friendship in L.A. with the family of a virtuoso pianist, published on demand by iUniverse; and Acts of Terror and Contrition - a nuclear fable - is my political novella (with eight stories) from Amazon's Createspace, about Israel and its reactions to the first Iraq War in 1990 (with the fear then that Saddam Hussein's missile bombardment might contain a nuclear weapon).
From a review of "Acts" on Amazon.com:
"At times the reader races ahead to find out the fate of the cast of characters and the fate of nations. At others the reader is stopped mid-page to consider the paradoxes of the nuclear world and the world of realpolitik. This is an important, timely book that deserves a wide audience."
For a fuller description of them, look for the relevant blog posts below or click on one of the Amazon.com links. KINDLE editions of these novels are also available.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

"The Ash Tree" on the shortlist for the biennial William Saroyan International Writing Prize

"The Ash Tree" - my novel about the California family of a survivor of the 1915 Armenian  Genocide - was shortlisted for Stanford University's biennial William Saroyan International Writing Prize for fiction. It is the sole shortlisted novel with Armenian content. The final selection for the prize will be announced within a month.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Revision of "Pathological States" finished late spring 2016

I've placed the revised first chapter of "Pathological States" (replacing the original first chapter) in the blog entry for October 4, 2010 (which so far has almost 4000 views). With this new version, the search for an agent is resuming!

Here's a synopsis of the novel:
“Pathological States” (a novel of about 67,000 words, 238 pages)
by Daniel Melnick; email: danielcmelnick@gmail.com
It is 1962, the year of hydrogen bomb testing and the Cuban Missile Crisis, of Eichmann’s execution and the Telstar satellite. Dr. Morris Weisberg is a sixty-one year old pathologist, researcher, and the paterfamilias of a contentious family. Medicine is an obsession for him, and he feels truthfulness is essential in order to keep alive the professional values he finds under attack at his hospital as well as his ethical awareness as a secular educated Jew. In the year of the novel, he faces shattering crises in his family, in himself, and at the Montecito V.A. hospital where he is Chief of Laboratory. He discovers that his world is shot through with crippling deceptions and paradoxes which test his very being.

Both Morris and his wife, Sarah, were born near the beginning of the twentieth century in Europe, and each was brought to America at an early age. Now, in 1962, the two of them are attempting to bear their chalice through the denatured suburbia of L.A.’s San Fernando Valley. Both are classical music lovers and amateur musicians, and their clashing worlds of music, family, medicine, and suburban survival are evoked in the full regalia of their wonder and struggle.

Partly based on my own family, the Weisbergs have raised two sons in Northridge, and each family member takes up the telling of the story. Gene and Albert are now in their twenties and return this year to the suburban household. They carry with them intense resentments toward their parents and especially toward Morris, whom they see as destructively controlling. As the young men—one of them is straight, the other gay—act out their personal, familial, and sexual instabilities, the family home begins to fill with unexpected revelations of excess and abuse.

At work, Morris unearths a grotesque and disastrous instance of unprofessional conduct and a cover-up reaching to the office of the Hospital Director. The pathologist struggles with his ethical responsibilities and his fears for his career, and he searches for a strategy to confront the crisis threatening him. At home and at work, then, buried truths erupt with catastrophic results, violating the boundaries and balances within Morris and his family. He tries to control the darkness of his own rage, depression, and self-destructiveness. As he plummets, the struggle persists in him to affirm the importance of science and of art in the face of the terrors within him and within his home and work, in Los Angeles and sunny California, and in America itself. By the end of the novel, Morris has become a moving, larger-than-life Dr. Quixote, at once terrifying and terrified, both noble and destructive.

“Pathological States” vividly dramatizes the crises and abuses in Morris Weisberg’s world, as well as the family’s attempts to maintain their harmed but richly complex identities. This eloquent and powerful novel alternately zooms in close to Morris’ consuming struggle and pans far out to see what signs of reconciliation and survival endure in his time and place.

Video of Interview about "The Ash Tree" on the Joan Quinn Profiles

Here's a link to my interview in late April of 2015 about "The Ash Tree" - on the Joan Quinn Profiles (a cable arts interview show). At first it took quite a while to load, but it seems to be working now. Hope it's interesting and enjoyable. [Highlight the web address below  and click on the "go to" link.]


Saturday, April 2, 2016

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Show of Jeanette Arax Melnick's paintings - a Plain Dealer news article about the Beachwood Library show this month


Here's a link to the YouTube video of Jeanette's show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40YY0m6yyaw .

Beachwood artist explores Armenia, geometry, Sid Vicious and folk art in exhibit

zz art lowres.jpg
Art is always personal. But it goes beyond that in the case of Jeanette Arax Melnick, who will exhibit her works at the Beachwood Branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library. (John Petkovic/The Plain Dealer)
John Petkovic, The Plain DealerBy John Petkovic, The Plain Dealer 
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on December 03, 2015 at 2:15 PM, updated December 03, 2015 at 2:35 PM
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Art is always personal. But it goes beyond that in the case of Jeanette Arax Melnick.
Yes, there is a personal side in works by the Beachwood artist, who will exhibit her paintings at the Beachwood Branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library during the month of December.
(The show opens at 2 p.m. Sunday at the library, 25501 Shaker Blvd, Cleveland. For more info, go to cuyahogalibrary.org/Branches/Beachwood.aspx or call 216-831-6868.)
You can see it in "The Quince Tree," a work that was inspired by a photo of her and her father, taken when she was a little girl, in 1946. The photo is in the work itself, along with photos of her grandchildren, children and husband.
But her relationship with the world is as much spatial one – in which she absorbs aspects of it through the senses or through patterns rather than just the heart or mind.
"Sometimes I just look at the world and see all these geometric shapes and I see aspects of my paintings in them," says Arax Melnick. "Like right now I'm sitting in a room looking at pillows or I could be looking at an oriental carpet and finding interesting patterns."
There is little pattern when it comes to divining the Fresno, Ca. native's style – which shoehorns folk art and "museum type art," as she likes to say.
"Art was always my companion and I never sought out to follow a particular style or painter," she says. "I started to study painting at (University of California, Berkley), but I switched to history because I realized that I wanted to be my own painter."
She delved into medieval history, along with the "flatness" found in its art.  She has created in the shadows of a family history that extends back to the Armenian genocide of 1915 – which led to her family settling in California.
"Armenian history is very complicated, especially with Turkey denying the genocide of 1.5 million Armenians," says Arax Melnick, whose husband Daniel Melnick recently released a novel that honors the memory of the genocide. "And yet that complication has given me a feeling for the suffering of all mankind."
"As a child, I was inspired looking at old Armenian manuscripts and seeing these people with big brown eyes and soulful looks," she adds. "They look like they've suffered and yet survive and go on."
Sid Vicious -- the English punk from a much later time, 1970s London – captivated her in a very different way.
zz art 2 lowres.jpg"Sid Vicious," one of works by Jeanette Arax Melnick that will be on display at the Beachwood Branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library. 
"I never listened to his music, though I know Aaron and Lennie have," says Arax Melnick, referring to her sons, co-founders of legendaryCleveland hardcore band Integrity. "I just loved his face and the zippers."
For years, the painting hung at the old Arabica on Coventry. Arax Melnick received a number of offers for it, but chose to hold onto it.
"It's hard to give up on that Sid Vicious," she says. "I've never looked at the money side of it."
It's all matter of perspective, even when it comes to art.
"I tend to avoid perspective and I think it's given my work a certain character," she says. "I'll have a table that looks like it's floating and could see it as an illusion, but to me it's just how I see it and see the world. So I guess you could say the world is an illusion, too."