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Chapman, Myriam 1936(?)-

Chapman, Myriam 1936(?)-


Born c. 1936. Education: Barnard College, B.A., 1958; City College of New York, M.A.


Office—Bank Street School for Children, 610 W. 112th St., New York, NY 10025-1898.


Writer, novelist, translator, and educator. Dover Publications, New York, NY, former publicity director; Bank Street School for Children, New York, NY, instructor in French, 1975—.


(Adaptor and translator) Veronique Antoine, Double Vision: Artists Face to Face, illustrated by Isabelle Jonniaux, layout by Dominique Mazy, Barron's (Hauppauge, NY), 1996.

Why She Married Him (novel), Other Press (New York, NY), 2005.

Contributor of short stories to Caprice and River Oak Review.


Novelist Myriam Chapman is a translator and instructor in the French language. She teaches French to young people at the Bank Street School for Children in New York and has translated the work of French author Veronique Antoine.

Why She Married Him is Chapman's debut novel, but it is fiction inspired by an unpublished memoir written by her grandmother, which was discovered several years after her death. Like the protagonist of the novel, Chapman's grandmother was a Russian immigrant to France. Nina Chaimovna Schavranski, the book's main character, is a Russian Jew who immigrates to France. The novel opens in 1912, shortly after Nina's marriage to Abraham Podselver. Abraham is a decent man and tries to be a good husband, but Nina does not love him. At best, she is resigned to the marriage, not bitterly unhappy but disappointed and discontented. As the story progresses, tracing Nina's life backwards from her marriage, the reader learns how she fell in love with another man, Sasha, after a brief but intense relationship. Their time together ended when Sasha left for America to seek the great promise and opportunity he believed was there. After Sasha left, Nina lived in the slums of Paris, working hard to improve her situation. Tracing her life further back, the novel relates her life as a youth during the Russian Revolution, when she saw firsthand the effects of pogroms and was forced into exile. As Nina's background and circumstances are revealed, the novel's title takes on additional significance, and readers can begin to understand why she was willing to marry Abraham, even though she did not love him. More important, the story explains what she has lost, what she has gained, and "what her decision may have cost her," noted critic Thomas Scott, writing in Copperfield Review. A Kirkus Reviews critic called the book "interesting material" with "a few poignant, telling moments" and "vivid detail," but also wished for more depth in the portrayal of the characters’ inner lives and the turbulent historical period in which they lived. Scott commented that the novel is "fascinating historical fiction, taking a story from the past and creating resonance and meaning so that the story stands as true today as it did a century ago."



Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2005, review of Why She Married Him, p. 751.

New York Times, January 1, 2006, Sarah Towers, review of Why She Married Him.


Barnard College Web site, (April 14, 2006), biography of Myriam Chapman.

Copperfield Review, (April 14, 2006), Thomas Scott, review of Why She Married Him.

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