Monday, April 14, 2014

2014 book 80

Francine Prose's Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932
Prose is one of those authors who inhabits an entirely different world with each book she writes. This one involves a group of people in Paris in the 1930s, all brought together by the titular Chameleon Club, told through their letters and memoirs and an extremely terrible biography of a lesbian racecar driver turned Gestapo torturer. It's fascinating to see the same scenes from different perspectives, and I loved seeing the art world of that era through an up-and-coming photographer, his baroness patron, a writer who fancies himself as another Hemingway, the latter's ex-girlfriend (who I hate to label that way, since she is by far my favorite character), and more. I also love how character beats are revealed slowly and somewhat hilariously. A few parts drag--including, oddly, a scene where the racecar driver has dinner with Hitler--and I struggled with the casual (and not-so-casual) anti-Semitism of several of the characters (though it is very accurate!) but in generally really loved this--another strong contender from Prose. A-.

A review copy was provided by the publisher. This book will be released on April 22nd.

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