Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Review: Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932

Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 by Francine Prose
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A gallery of characters brings to life the days just before and during World War II in Paris. The Chameleon Club nightclub patrons and the entertainers introduce the reader to what many considered decadent times. It is the story of Louisanne "Lou" Villars, a lesbian athlete who yearns to enter the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Her career as a race car driver connects her with the characters: artists, writers, wealthy industrialists, and, eventually, members of the Third Reich.

Although this is a novel, Francine Prose's research into those days draws the reader into the terrifying advent of the Nazis into France. The character of Villars is based on the true story of Violette Morris who was a French professional athlete who worked for the Gestapo during the German occupation of Paris.

The book is divided by several voices - a photographer, a writer, a wealthy woman married to an industrialist, and others. Together they paint a vivid picture of the times from the 1930s to the mid 1940s. This book is a picture of how it was to live in France during those horrifying days.

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