Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Lovers At The Chameleon Club by Francine Prose
There is the Baroness Lily de Rossignal, whose husband's family owns and manufactures luxury automobiles. Gabor Tsenyl is the Hungarian photographer who has the Baroness as his patroness. Lou Villars is a lesbian who is known for her strength; she has an act with her lover, Arlette. Suzanne Dunois is Gabor's girlfriend. Lionel Maine is an American who makes his mark by writing about the sin and sex of Paris and its inhabitants.
As years go by, roles change. Lou transforms herself into a race car driver who drives cars for the de Rossignal family. When the French government takes her permit due to her lifestyle, she grieves for her life and then falls in with a German lover. Soon she is spying for the Germans and as the years go by, even becomes one of their torturers. Suzanne and the Baroness, enemies as each is jealous of Gabor's place in the other's life, become friends as they both join the Resistance.
Francine Prose has written a fascinating look at the place and time between the World Wars in Paris. The truth she writes about is slippery, changing as each individual gives their version of various events. There are love affairs and betrayals, collusion and sacrifices, and the truth is finally that which is told by the survivors. This book is recommended for readers of literary fiction and will keep them turning pages far into the night.