A Novel of Marlene Dietrich

Book - 2016
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A historical tale inspired by the life of Marlene Dietrich traces her rise from the seedy worlds of Weimar Berlin's cabarets and drag balls to the lush film studios of golden-era Hollywood, where she becomes entangled in a series of stormy love affairs.
Publisher: New York, NY : William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2016.
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780062406064
Branch Call Number: FIC Gortn
Characteristics: 406 pages ; 24 cm.


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shoshanalibrarian Jun 22, 2016

In C.W. Gortner's hands, Marlene Dietrich is as fascinating in print as she was on screen. The first-person narrative begins when Marlene is 12 and smitten with her female French teacher. Following the 1st World War, she tries to please her strict, domineering mother by studying to be a violinist, but truly finds herself in Weimar-era Berlin's famous cabarets, making a splash in her tuxedos, having affairs with men and women alike, and becoming the legend we know today. We see her inner struggles - her guilt over putting her career before her husband and daughter, her anguish at watching her homeland become a monster. As she reaches the pinnacles of fame, she loses herself in Hollywood glitz (and the novel loses it a bit too, becoming somewhat melodramatic in this section), but finds Marlene once again with her defiant USO tour, visiting more war-torn areas in Europe than any other USO performer, determined to give Hitler the biggest middle finger she could. The novel ends soon after her return to Hollywood, and though it left me wanting more, it ends on a wonderful note. Well-written and highly readable, Marlene showcases Gortner's ability to capture the inner lives of women.

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