The Glimmer Palace
By Beatrice Colin
(Riverhead Trade, Paperback, 9781594483813, 432pp.)
Publication Date: July 7, 2009
Other Editions of This Title: , Hardcover
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A celebration of cabaret in Berlin and the birth of cinema, set against the rise and fall of Germany between World War I and World War II
As the clock chimed the turn of the twentieth century, Lilly Nelly Aphrodite took her first breath. The illegitimate, soon orphaned daughter of a cabaret performer, she lands at a Catholic orphanage where she finds refuge and the first in a string of friendships that will change the direction of her life. When fellow orphan Hanne takes Lilly beyond their stone confines, introducing her to the seedy glamour of Berlin’s notorious nightlife, it begins for Lillly a trajectory of reinvention. From urchin to maid, teenage war bride, tingle-tangle bargirl, model, and script typist, Lilly is eventually transformed into one of Germany’s leading film stars and a partner in a remarkable love story that will span decades and continentsand be inextricable from the history unfolding around it.
Gripping, seductive, and masterfully written, The Glimmer Palace is a page-turning story of glitter and splendor, drama and love, friendship and identity. The story of an extraordinary heroine living in an extraordinary time, it is vivid and surprising in its telling, intelligent and ambitious in its scope, sad and beautiful and unforgettable.
Beatrice Colin was born in London and raised in Scotland. She has worked as a freelance journalist, writing for publications including The Guardian, and as a playwright, writing radio plays for the BBC. She lives in Glasgow.
"This extravaganza had me from page one."
-Emma Donoghue, author of Slammerkin
"Colin's heroine, Lilly Aphrodite, is as rich, alive, and dangerous as the city she inhabits; and as the novel progresses, Berlin's history becomes her own."
-David Ebershoff, author of The 19th Wife and The Danish Girl
"Absorbing...Deftly captur[es] the era's sense of frenzied invention and seductive promise."
-The New York Times Book Review