A Novel

eBook - 2016
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A lush, dramatic biographical novel of one of the most glamorous and alluring legends of Hollywood's golden age, Marlene Dietrich--from the gender-bending cabarets of Weimar Berlin to the lush film studios of Hollywood, a sweeping story of passion, glamour, ambition, art, and war from the author of Mademoiselle Chanel. Raised in genteel poverty after the First World War, Maria Magdalena Dietrich dreams of a life on the stage. When a budding career as a violinist is cut short, the willful teenager vows to become a singer, trading her family's proper, middle-class society for the free-spirited, louche world of Weimar Berlin's cabarets and drag balls. With her sultry beauty, smoky voice, seductive silk cocktail dresses, and androgynous tailored suits, Marlene performs to packed houses and becomes entangled in a series of stormy love affairs that push the boundaries of social convention.For the beautiful, desirous Marlene, neither fame nor marriage and motherhood...
Publisher: 2016
ISBN: 9780062406088
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

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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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