A celebration of cabaret in Berlin and the birth of cinema, set against the rise and fall of Germany between World War I and World War II
As the clock chimed the turn of the twentieth century, Lilly Nelly Aphrodite took her first breath. The illegitimate, soon orphaned daughter of a cabaret performer, she lands at a Catholic orphanage where she finds refuge and the first in a string of friendships that will change the direction of her life. When fellow orphan Hanne takes Lilly beyond their stone confines, introducing her to the seedy glamour of Berlin’s notorious nightlife, it begins for Lillly a trajectory of reinvention. From urchin to maid, teenage war bride, tingle-tangle bargirl, model, and script typist, Lilly is eventually transformed into one of Germany’s leading film stars and a partner in a remarkable love story that will span decades and continents—and be inextricable from the history unfolding around it.
Gripping, seductive, and masterfully written, The Glimmer Palace is a page-turning story of glitter and splendor, drama and love, friendship and identity. The story of an extraordinary heroine living in an extraordinary time, it is vivid and surprising in its telling, intelligent and ambitious in its scope, sad and beautiful and unforgettable.
Covering the life of Lilly Nelly Aphrodite from the turn of the century until World War II, this overly familiar historical novel takes the listener inside the clubs and film industry of Berlin. German accents depict most of the characters; it probably would have been wiser for Justine Eyre and her director to take the Berlin setting as a given, for little attention is paid to class differences. Only an American movie mogul sounds genuine. Eyre portrays Lilly as delicate and sweet; unfortunately, she reads Ilya, Lilly's main love interest, in much the same way, except with a Russian accent. Lilly's best friend Hanna has a gruffer voice that predictably imitates Marlene Dietrich. Though the narrative is clear enough to avoid confusion, most of the women sound exactly alike and boredom is inescapable. A Riverhead hardcover (Reviews, May 5).