Book Reviews & Essays on Literature

The Luminous Life of Lilly Aphrodite, by Beatrice Colin

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The Luminous Life of Lilly Aphrodite, by Beatrice Colin

The Luminous Life of Lilly Aphrodite, by Beatrice Colin (Charnwood, 2009)

“Nazis never go out of fashion, fictionally speaking, although Beatrice Colin’s improbably named heroine (born in a cloud of cigar smoke on the cusp of the 20th century) does spend a fair bit of time on her uppers on Weimar’s burlesque scene before she makes it as a movie star and tries to outwit Goebbels.” (From review by Caroline Miller, 31 January 2009, The Guardian UK)

Beatrice Colin is a wonderful author and I’m going to pass this book on to all my friends. From the first word to the last, it had me hypnotized with its precise, expressive language and unusual, complex plot. While it has all the elements of a block-buster, even of a potential screenplay, it contains no clichés and is beautifully and exactly crafted, researched and illustrated. The ending was so appropriate, yet so astonishing that I wept up half a toilet roll, then reread it and cried some more. These lines from the poet Rilke, quoted near the finale, will give you some idea of the Doctor Zhivago-like, dramatic nature of the novel;

“…Be ahead of all parting, as though it were already behind you like the winter that has just gone by. For among these winters there is one so endlessly winter, that only by wintering through it all will your heart survive.”

“The Luminous Life of Lilly Aphrodite” was published in the US as “The Glimmer Palace”, by Riverhead.

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