Monday, 22 February 2010

Beatrice Colin - The Luminous Life of Lilly Aphrodite

Now this was just fabulous. I cannot recommend it more highly and it would make a fantastic book group read. This was a Richard and Judy title and it only goes to show how strong that brand was and what a hole is left in the book world when that show finished.

This book follows the life of the young woman of the title from being an orphan to becoming a silent screen star. What makes this interesting is that we begin in 1899 and go through two World Wars and this is Germany.

Here like The Book Thief, we have the attempt to reintegrate Germany and it's people of this period into the consciousness of the rest of the world without the necessary stigma of Nazism. We see the weeping defeated Kaiser leaving on his train. Yes, Hitler features, as do the death camps but the novel is filled with real suffering people and we are asked - what would you have done? To save your husband would you have returned from Hollywood to star in a film for Goebbels? And to save her would you have been prepared to pay the ultimate price also?

Throughout this book we have a real insight into one person's love for Berlin and follow the bitter suffering that this love results in. It is about the resilience of the human psyche, how the past always returns, catching up with us, and how love can transcend poverty and deprivation. This is truly a novel on the grand scale, and will remain with you long after you have read it.

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