Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Currently Reading: Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932

This is the first book that I have ever had signed in the presence of an author, not to mention by one of my favorite authors, Francine Prose. I had it signed in April at the Boston Athenaeum after Ms. Prose gave a reading from this book, her newest novel.

I am over halfway through the book now and I am really enjoying it! It does not have me sucked in like Elena Ferrante's novels, but it is such an interesting read! It took her five years to write and you can tell; it is so full of interesting facts that are presented so simply that you don't realize you're learning about actual historical moments. Not to mention, her prose in this book is amazing. Every word is curated to give the desired effect. It's beautiful, like a painting, and so incredibly impressive!

The story is not written like a typical novel. It is written by different threads of people in the form of fictional autobiographies, biographies, letters, and memoirs. Most of the characters are based on real people, but Prose fictionalizes the unknown parts of their lives and certain events but you still learn so much about pre and post war France, including the Olympics and the nazi occupation.

It's a long book, pushing 500 pages but it is read so quickly! The characters are quirky and so complex. Sometimes you love them and in the next section, you hate them completely! It really is an impressive book and you can tell that it took a lot of work and research. It is so well done that as you read it, you can't believe someone could possibly write a book that is so complex but is so full of beauty!

I really recommend this book to everyone, especially those that love historical fiction. I don't typically gravitate towards historical fiction—and I keep saying that I would never have picked up this book if it was not written by Francine Prose—but this book is exceptional. It may seem a bit long and daunting for a summer read but it's so entertaining, no one should put this book on the back burner!

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