Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 Pdf Summary
A richly imagined and stunningly inventive literary masterpiece of love, art, and betrayal, exploring the genesis of evil, the unforeseen consequences of love, and the ultimate unreliability of storytelling itself.
Paris in the 1920s shimmers with excitement, dissipation, and freedom. It is a place of intoxicating ambition, passion, art, and discontent, where louche jazz venues like the Chameleon Club draw expats, artists, libertines, and parvenus looking to indulge their true selves. It is at the Chameleon where the striking Lou Villars, an extraordinary athlete and scandalous cross-dressing lesbian, finds refuge among the club’s loyal denizens, including the rising Hungarian photographer Gabor Tsenyi, the socialite and art patron Baroness Lily de Rossignol; and the caustic American writer Lionel Maine.
As the years pass, their fortunes – and the world itself – evolve. Lou falls desperately in love and finds success as a race car driver. Gabor builds his reputation with startlingly vivid and imaginative photographs, including a haunting portrait of Lou and her lover, which will resonate through all their lives. As the exuberant twenties give way to darker times, Lou experiences another metamorphosis – sparked by tumultuous events – that will warp her earnest desire for love and approval into something far more.
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3.0 out of 5 stars France 1920s- 1940s
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on January 20, 2020
It took me a little while to get absorbed into this novel.I had read the authors MR.MONKEY not too long ago and have to say that while that book plays on smaller stage it’s more formally perfect.It’s also a lot funnier.LOVERS begins in the 1920’s and extends through the 1940’s with some flash forwards.The story is an interesting mix of fact and fiction.I knew the Hungarian photograher was based on some Eastern European Paris photograher whose name I couldn’t remember(Brassai !).Lionel Mane was obviously suggested by Henry Miller who it’s clear Prose doesn’t like.(There is a somewhat weird-funny scene near the end of the book where Mane now in his 90’s is obssesssed with the movie Carrie).At the center is the decidedly strange character of Lou Villars , a woman who becomes a NAZI tortourer.
This is a book that gradually sucks you in and you do find yourself interested in knowing what will happen next.After a little resistance I wound up liking it.
5.0 out of 5 stars Literature That Is As Much A Page Turner As A Thriller
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on August 30, 2014
I found this piece of fine literature to be an absolute page turner. At the same time that I am focusing on writing my own memoir, I found myself opening this book every free second, and in the middle of the night (for hours); not only interrupting my sleep pattern but taking time away from my own writing. There is nothing in this review that doesn’t contain spoilers already present in the editorial reviews of the book. It is the story, from the raging 20’s to the end of WWII, of primarily a cross-dressing lesbian who went from being a professional athlete, to a race car driver, to a spy that told the Germans how to bypass the entire French line of defense in the WWII invasion of France, to a torturer for the Gestapo. Her ending is disclosed to the reader early on, and the bulk of the book enticingly shows you how she arrived at that end. At the same time, it is the story of a fascinating chorus of characters: a Henry Miller type author, a successful photographer and the two women who loved him (a teacher and a Baroness with oodles of cash). The readers goes with the characters throughout Paris, from mingling with homeless under a bridge, to a glittering society dinner for 40 in the 20’s, to sitting beside Hitler at a full state banquent before the Berlin Olympics, to the torture chambers in the basement of Gestapo headquarters in France, and moreover roams all over France. This, and a completely different tale, “A Soldier In The Great War”, rank among the two best books I have read in years.
4.0 out of 5 stars “Your lover’s jealousy knows you better than you do.”
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on April 26, 2014
I love this quote. In many ways it encapsulates the enmeshed stories of the characters struggling in Nazi dominated France. The genius of these stories is its success in capturing the inevitable interaction of the personal with the decisions of the much larger political and moral war. The Chameleon Club had cast itself as the home of the alienated and the independent. Through its doors the denizens of radically different philosophies mix in a studied decadence. But it is their views of each other that reveal the souls that each hides.
A unifying character is Lou, the woman twisted by the expectations of others but ultimately most comfortable in the life of a man and the lover of women. How did she become a deadly Nazi collaborator. How did the somewhat whiney photographer, Gabor, move from his pursuit of fame into an artist with a conscious? Most important, it is clear that we still will never know the truth.
While I found the setting compelling, the plot can wander into the long winded. As I noted, I found Gabor almost unbearable at the start of the novel, and for that matter unbelievable at the end. In attempting to specify the ambiguities facing the characters, sometimes too much detail is spun. Nonetheless, I found this to be a book with much to commend it. I think the truth that none of us knows all our own secrets is well documented in a fascinating trope.
5.0 out of 5 stars A corner of Parisian life in the 1930’s
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on December 17, 2017
I have the feeling that the book captures a real sense of a segment of Parisian society in the 1930’s and the war years. The era and its characters was certainly well researched. The writing style is Francine Prose’s famous and wonderful prose. This is particularly wonderful read for people with an interest in the French avant garde of that era. I have recommended this book highly to a number of my friends and I have no hesitation to recommend it to all Amazon patrons.
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating look into pre-war Paris
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on January 17, 2016
I really enjoyed Lovers at the Chameleon Club. It tells a fictionalized version of a true story – proving once again that truth is stranger than fiction. Lou Villars (real-life Violette Morris) is a talented athlete and, later, race car driver who has her profession taken away from her when she is denied the chance to compete because of her cross dressing. (Napoleonic law allowed women to wear no more than 4 pieces of men’s clothing.) The story is told by multiple characters which makes for a bit of an unreliable narrator scenario. Whose version of the truth is the real one?
I highly recommend looking up the photographs of Brassai who is also fictionalized in the book. His black and white photos of Paris at night in the 30s are haunting.
About Francine Prose Author of Lovers at the Chameleon Club Paris 1932 Pdf Book
Francine Prose is the Author of Lovers at the Chameleon Club Paris 1932 Pdf Book the twenty works of fiction. Her novel A Changed Man won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and Blue Angel was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her most recent works of nonfiction include the highly acclaimed Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife, and the New York Times bestseller Reading Like a Writer. The recipient of numerous grants and honors, including a Guggenheim and a Fulbright, a Director’s Fellow at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, Prose is a former president of PEN American Center, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her most recent book is Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932. She lives in New York City.
Lovers at the Chameleon Club Paris 1932 pdf, Paperback, Hardcover Book Information
- ASIN : 0061713783
- Publisher : Harper; First Edition (April 22, 2014)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 448 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780061713781
- ISBN-13 : 978-0061713781
- Item Weight : 1.45 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.6 x 1.6 x 9.4 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,680,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #3,500 in Biographical Historical Fiction
- #4,830 in Biographical Fiction (Books)
- #75,177 in Literary Fiction (Books)
- Customer Reviews: 4.0 out of 5 stars 324 ratings
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