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Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 by…
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Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932

by Francine Prose

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4032140,174 (3.6)37
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» See also 37 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
Full of moral ambiguity and complex characters. Breathless, magnificent.

I received a complimentary copy of this book via a Goodreads giveaway. Many thanks to all involved in providing me with this opportunity. ( )
  Zoes_Human | Jun 30, 2019 |
I really wanted to love this book, I really wanted to like this book, but it just didn't work for me. Too many narrators (reliable or not), too long, too repetitive, and often too boring. I was distracted by the "based on real people but not really" issue. Without a a Forward or an Afterward I found myself spending frustrating amounts of time trying to ascertain what was true, almost true and what was pure fiction. For some it may not matter, for me, when the subject matter is the Holocaust, the Resistance, a well known work of art, etc, it matters.

On a different level the relationships between the characters didn't ring true. I never felt the attractions/connections between any of the couples, be they be lovers or friends. I didn't like any of the characters, but that is not necessary for me to like a novel, I just found it odd that I found none of the characters especially sympathetic. At times it felt like the author was just throwing as many "names" at the reader as she could, perhaps to add authenticity to the story...

I did like the descriptions of the Chameleon Club and Paris at night, as well as Hitler's Berlin. Looking at Brassai's (on whom, I assume, Gabor is based) photography you can see the genius he had capturing/recreating the grit and beauty of night time/underground Paris. The author did a good job making me see how a photographer may have found his niche and survived financially and creatively. That's about all that I enjoyed about the novel. ( )
  Rdra1962 | Aug 1, 2018 |
I liked the writing and the style. I hated the ending. ( )
  kimkimkim | Aug 21, 2017 |
I gave up. I really wanted to like it; I usually love Francine Prose. But the characters seemed to blend together, and parts of it seemed very anachronistic, and... maybe I just wasn't in the right mood for it right now.
  VintageReader | Jul 9, 2017 |
What a fun book! Great characters, snappy dialogue. A historical novel set in a Paris of 1932 and then into WW2 which teams with quirky unreliable narrators. They tell the story of a club that resembles the one in _Cabaret_ and its patrons – many of whom soon develop into either Nazi collaborators or fierce resistance fighters. Everyone seems to be struggling to maintain either their artistic integrity or moral high ground in their own very personal battle. Hemingway and Picasso are there, but stay pretty much in the background. All these people talking with different voices and from different perspectives manage to collectively capture this wonderfully picturesque milieu. And tell an exciting story populated with interesting and very human characters. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
The breadth, nerve and intricacy of Francine Prose’s big new novel should surprise even her most regular readers. A bona fide page turner, “Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932” unfolds over 20 years, across an increasingly ominous Europe, among thugs and artists and poseurs who share only the danger that threatens to cramp their partying style.
added by ozzer | editNew York Times, Janet Maslin (Apr 10, 2014)
 
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Epigraph
Between the wolf in the tall grass and the wolf in the tall story there is a shimmering go-between. -- Vladimir Nabokov
Dedication
For Howie
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Paris, May 14, 1924
Dear Parents, Last night I visited a club in Montparnasse where the men dress as women and the women as men.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061713783, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:57 -0400)

"A richly imagined and stunningly inventive story of love, art, and betrayal in Paris of the 20's, 30's, and 40's"--

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