The wonder of Francine Prose's terrific historical novel, Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932, is how she takes inspiration from a work of visual art and builds, not just one story, not just one voice, but a kaleidoscope of voices and angles about individuals whose lives intersect at a particular time and place. The visual piece is a gelatin silver print by famed Hungarian photographer Brassai called "Lesbian Couple at Le Monocle, 1932." It shows two people having cocktails and cigarettes seated at a cabaret table. One is a woman in a diaphanous evening gown and the other is also a woman, but she is dressed in a tailored man's suit, shirt and necktie. It is perhaps as evocative of Paris during the Jazz Age as any picture and it has clearly evoked brilliance in this author.
The main character in Lovers is the mannish woman depicted in a similar, fictional photograph, ...
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