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

3.59 (4,096 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

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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Product details

  • Hardback | 436 pages
  • 156 x 232 x 44mm | 659.99g
  • HarperCollins Publishers Inc
  • HarperCollins
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0061713783
  • 9780061713781
  • 276,750

Review quote

"Provocative, powerful."--USA Today
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Back cover copy

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.
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Review Text

"A reading experience like none other-a shimmering library of possible truths and forking pathways...Readers of this extraordinary novel become Villars' co-biographers, piecing through 'official' and underground accounts as ample (and as unreliable) as the human library of memory. I was addicted to this book." Karen Russell, author of SWAMPLANDIA
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Rating details

4,096 ratings
3.59 out of 5 stars
5 21% (852)
4 36% (1,490)
3 29% (1,171)
2 10% (406)
1 4% (177)
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