Format:
Book
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Edition:
1st ed.
Publisher, Date:
New York : Harper, 2014.
Description:
436 p. ; 24 cm.
Summary:
"A richly imagined and stunningly inventive story of love, art, and betrayal in Paris of the 20's, 30's, and 40's"-- Provided by publisher.
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LCCN:
2013048443
ISBN:
9780061713781 (hardback)
0061713783 (hardback)
9780061713804 (paperback)
0061713805 (paperback)
Other Number:
857966839
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"A richly imagined and stunningly inventive story of love, art, and betrayal in Paris of the 20's, 30's, and 40's"-- - (Baker & Taylor)

At the Chameleon Club in Paris, Lou Villars, a star athlete and scandalous cross-dressing lesbian, finds refuge among its patrons, and as time passes, she experiences a transformation that warps her earnest desire for love and approval into something dangerous. - (Baker & Taylor)

At the Chameleon club in Paris, Lou Villars, a star athlete and scandalous cross-dressing lesbian, finds refuge among its patrons, and as time passes, she experiences a transformation, sparked by tragic events, that warps her earnest desire for love and approval into something dangerous. 100,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)

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.

- (HARPERCOLL)

Flap Cover Text

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. It is a city 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 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 in love and finds success as a race car driver. Gabor builds his reputation with 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 that will warp her earnest desire for love and approval into something far more sinister: collaboration with the Nazis.

Told in a kaleidoscope of voices, Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 evokes this incandescent city with brio, humor, and intimacy. A brilliant work of fiction and a mesmerizing read, it is Francine Prose's finest novel yet.

- (HARPERCOLL)

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Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Artistically and intellectually adventurous, Prose presents a house-of-mirrors historical novel built around a famous photograph by Brassai of two women at a table in a Paris nightclub. The one wearing a tuxedo is athlete, race-car driver, and Nazi collaborator Violette Morris. So intriguing and disturbing is her story, Prose considered writing a biography, but instead she forged an electrifying union of fact and fiction by creating a circle of witnesses and chroniclers of varying degrees of reliability. Gabor, a Hungarian photographer enthralled by Paris after dark, photographs two weary lovers: Arlette, an opportunistic performer, and Lou Villars, a tux-clad athlete. The women are regulars at the Chameleon Club, a safe haven for lesbians, gays, cross-dressers, and others who must change their stripes to survive. We glean the many facets and repercussions of Lou's "dramatic and terrible life" via Gabor's surprisingly explicit letters to his parents, an unpublished biography, works by an American writer in Paris, and the memoirs of two rivals for Gabor's love, a young teacher and a lonely baroness. In an intricately patterned, ever-morphing, lavishly well-informed plot spanning the French countryside and reaching to Berlin, Prose intensifies our depth perception of that time of epic aberration and mesmerizing evil as she portrays complex, besieged individuals struggling to become their true selves. A dark and glorious tour de force. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Destined to be a breakout book, Prose's novel will be promoted with an eight-city author tour, a major media campaign, and library and book-club outreach. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Library Journal Reviews

National Book Award finalist Prose meant to write a nonfiction book about Hungarian photographer George Brassaï, but it turned into this novel. At its tumultuous heart is the Chameleon Club, a shadowy jazz venue that attracts notorious cross-dressing lesbian Lou Villars, Hungarian photographer Gabor Tsenyi, upper-crust art patron Baroness Lily de Rossignol, and sharp-tongued American novelist Lionel Maine. With a 50,000-copy first printing and an eight-city tour.

[Page 69]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Library Journal Reviews

What's most striking about this latest work from Prose (Blue Angel) is how effectively she weaves together the stories of more than a half dozen characters to tell the larger picture of France (and, indeed, Europe) between the World Wars while reflecting on the nature of evil and the limits of biography (and biographical fiction). In these pages we meet Gabor, a Hungarian photographer modeled on Brassaï, who is friends with blustery, self-absorbed American novelist Lionel Maine (obviously Hemingway) and whose patron is Baroness Lily de Rossignol, a former actress with an affecting backstory and a hint of Peggy Guggenheim. Gabor's love (once Lionel's) is the hearty and charming Suzanne Dunois, reputedly the subject of a biography drawn from her memoirs by a great-niece. The protagonists are brought together at Paris's steamy, anything-goes Chameleon Club, where they cross paths with the linchpin character, Lou Villars, a cross-dressing lesbian who finds shelter at the club and goes on to a skewed career as a performer, racing-car driver, and, shockingly, supporter of National Socialism. At first a smoothly unrolling tapestry, the novel deepens as it portrays a society careening toward war. VERDICT Both entertaining and reflective for any reader of fiction. [See Prepub Alert, 11/3/13.]—Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal

[Page 85]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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