[Download] Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932: A Novel By Francine Prose

Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932: A Novel

By: Francine Prose
Narrated by: Geoffrey Cantor, Suzanne Toren, Nicola Barber
Length: 18 hours
Release date: Apr 22, 2014
Rating: 1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (105 votes, average: 3.50 out of 5)
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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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8 Responses to “[Download] Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932: A Novel By Francine Prose”

  1. Keren Simonis

    An incredible visit to 1930s Paris
    Francine Prose has created the most vibrant picture of Paris before and during WWII. It’s so beautifully written that you can smell the cigarette smoke in the Chameleon Club. It’s that way throughout. Whether it’s clothing, a car, a person or a place – it’s all so real. For me, it’s the way historical fiction is supposed to be written. As much as I’ve read and seen about WWII, I’ve never really had a good glimpse of the social atmosphere surrounding Hitler. It was new.

    Using varying points of view can be an interesting way of writing. In the wrong hands, it interrupts the flow of the story and can be quite annoying. In this case, it filled out the story with the alternating POV giving reasons for an action or behavior. This author uses the technique to its advantage.

    Now you’re wondering why this didn’t get 5 stars from me? The whole thing fell down with the narration. It runs the gamut from the fabulous – Edoardo Ballerini, who is perhaps one of the finest narrators around – to something akin to a phony French accent in a high school play. It is SO bad that I began dreading when a few characters would tell their story. I hoped each time it would be the last.

    In my opinion, this is a book that would have worked better with one gifted narrator. If Davina Porter can pull off all the zillion characters in a Gabaldon book with grace, then certainly it could have been done with these 6 characters. The author’s good work deserved better than it got with this inconsistent narration.

  2. Dayna A.

    A stinker; a boring compendium of chiches
    Would you try another book from Francine Prose and/or the narrators?

  3. Patricia S. Hohl

    What I wouldn’t give to be sitting at a banquette
    What I wouldn’t give to be sitting at one of the banquettes at The Chameleon Club!

    The dancing! The orchestra! The girls? It is all brought so vividly rendered, I could smell the cigarettes and taste the watered-down gin. Prose’s exploration of the nature of evil is smart and compelling canted against a terrific narrative.

    This tour de force by Francine Prose is rooted in the 1932 Brassai photograph “Lesbian Couple at Le Monocle.” Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 is a fictionalized account of the life of one of the subjects of that photograph, Violette Morris – an Olympic hopeful, professional race car driver, and Nazi collaborator. In the book, she is Lou Villars, a French cross dressing lesbian whose choice of increasingly toxic lovers contributes to her fragile sense of self, smoldering resentment, and dangerous unhappiness. Yet the sources of her disappointment are many from her parents to her own country. Prose uses this tangle of complicated emotions to explore the more intellectual questions that surround the nature of evil. All while taking the reader through the nocturnal streets of Brassai’s pre-war Paris, the egos of writers and artists, the heady days lived by lovers and scoundrels flung towards another world war. What does disappointment and adversity churn into? Are some people bound to become evil or good? Prose doesn’t rely on black and white answers; she revels in the shades of gray. She keeps the narrative lively and compelling, torqued between what the characters can control and what they cannot – another fascinating place for a reader to be, that gray, in-between place. Readers may take issue with the fact that Lou’s story is told in everyone else’s voice but her own. I think Prose found just the right pitch to tell Lou’s story. A central character who ultimately takes some sense of pleasure in evil can become too heavy and the lines of inquiry that run from such a character, too clichéd. Not here. Having Lou’s life filled in by such a diverse cast lights the narrative on fire; it feels kaleidoscopic. Finally, I can’t remember the last time I so thoroughly enjoyed an ending. Ironic, and odd, and deeply satisfying.

    The only negative part of the experience was the fake, French accents. Listening to the baroness made me cringe.

  4. Amy

    Hats off the narrators!
    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

  5. Aline Kolkmann

    An unmitigated disaster
    What made the experience of listening to Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 the most enjoyable?

  6. Dorene Cassidy

    Interesting Historical Fiction
    An interesting but over-long narrative, told by multiple characters, set in Paris between the World Wars. This is not “lite” listening, but it is ultimately rewarding.

  7. Everett Guitano

    Unforgettable
    This is a gift to readers. A book that you don’t want to end, characters that you want to know more about and a story that breaks your heart.

  8. Valerie J. Light

    Enjoyed it!
    I enjoyed the book once I got used to the writing style. Every day I listened I couldn’t wait to hear what the other characters had to say. Good story ljne.

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