Beatrice Colin The Glimmer Palace

ISBN 13: 9781594489853

The Glimmer Palace

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9781594489853: The Glimmer Palace
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Emerging from an early twentieth-century Berlin Catholic orphanage where she had spent her formative years, the illegitimate daughter of a cabaret performer experiences a series of identities as a maid, war bride, and nightclub girl before rising to become one of Germany's leading silent-film stars. 30,000 first printing.

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About the Author:

Beatrice Colin was born in London and raised in Scotland. She is the author of The Glimmer Palace. She has worked as a freelance journalist, writing for publications including The Guardian, and as a playwright, writing radio plays for the BBC. She lives in Glasgow.

Review:

“As spellbinding as the era in which its set, Beatrice Colin’s The Glimmer Palace is a rare marriage of muscular scholarship and high romance. In the chiaroscuro of Lilly’s coming of age—from orphan to struggling war bride to triumphant and ultimately vulnerable film star—we’re given all the flashes of brilliance and deep shadow that defined the birth of an industry and a troubled century.”
—Sheri Holman, author of The Dress Lodger and The Mammoth Cheese

“Written with intelligence and shimmer, The Glimmer Palace transports the reader to Berlin in the first part of the twentieth century. Colin’s heroine, Lilly Aphrodite, is as rich, alive, and dangerous as the city she inhabits; and as the novel progresses, Berlin’s history becomes her own.”
—David Ebershoff, author of The Danish Girl and The 19th Wife

“There are few characters as beguiling as the incomparable Tiny Lil. And Colin tells her riveting story—and the enthralling story of prewar Berlin—breathlessly and triumphantly.”
—Jennifer Gilmore, author of Golden Country

“As moving as it is smart, this extravaganza had me from page one. The Glimmer Palace is a dazzling epic of survival in the urban wilderness of cabaret-era Berlin.”
—Emma Donoghue, author of Slammerkin and Life Mask

“Captivating...Beatrice Colin’s irresistible novel, The Glimmer Palace, follows the eventful life of a Berlin orphan who becomes a rising star in the brand-new medium of the cinema. Early 20th-century Berlin is just like Colin’s main character: anything it wants to be and full of promise to be more. . . . Colin’s memorable tale is also the story of Germany’s film industry between the wars. Though the historical detail rings true, it is a mere backdrop to the compelling story of Lilly... The Glimmer Palace is haunting.”
Bookpage

“Absorbing... Deftly captur[es] the era’s sense of frenzied invention and seductive promise. Born on New Year’s Eve in 1899, Lilly is the incarnation of this toxic mix of glitter and despair. Over the course of nearly half a century, as troops parade through Berlin and bread lines erupt into riots, she is transformed, almost accidentally, from Tiny Lil, the unwanted baby, to Lidi, one of Germany’s most celebrated film stars... [Colin] writes with a supple, whimsical charm.”
The New York Times Book Review

“[An] exceptional novel about an orphan who becomes a celebrated silent film actress at the height of the Weimar Republic, but who risks everything for a happy ending. With its fast pace and unusual turns of plot, this novel lives up to its title....Without a doubt, Colin is an entertaining storyteller....her narrative is curt, precise, and touched with irony. But however brisk her sentences can sound, she is never afraid to explore the abandonment and desperation her characters experience. In Lilly, Colin has created a heroine who is so full of beauty and bad luck that one wonders whether to envy or pity her. Yet there is something quite charming about a girl who acts only with her eyes, and the curiosity about Lilly Nelly Aphrodite only gets stronger as the novel progresses.”
Sunday Herald

“In this confident debut, Colin creates a filmic and evocative description of life in Berlin—from the cusp of the 20th century to the Weimar Republic and the rise of National Socialism – seen through the prism of Germany's burgeoning film industry. Orphaned before she was two, Lilly spent the first 10 years of her life in an orphanage. But outside this safe haven, society was in flux. Colin's descriptions of Berlin are as vibrant and alive as Lilly and the rich cast of characters around her.”
The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday

“We are entranced by the character that Beatrice Colin creates and the world she inhabits: the Kaiser’s Berlin before and during the first world war and then the decadent aftermath that was the Weimar Republic. Meticulously researched by Colin, a Glaswegian novelist whose family were themselves immigrants from Russia via Berlin, [The Glimmer Palace] shows early 20th- century Berlin as a magical but harsh imperial city whose suffering from 1914 to 1918 is seldom acknowledged in this country. How Lilly survives turnips and the cold to become the leading silent movie star of her day drives the narrative of this book. The fictional actress overlaps with the real- life Dietrich and other, forgotten stars of the early screen, such as Henny Porten, who was persecuted after 1933 for marrying a Jew. But this is not fact dressed as fiction. While Dietrich entertained allied troops in Europe, such was her loathing of the Nazi regime, Lilly’s relationship with the Nazis is more complex and hesitant — as it was for many in the industry. The storytelling is masterful and the language magical. [The Glimmer Palace] is a rich book, in both its prose and in the strength of its characters, whose lives cross in the chaos of war and its brief, glittering aftermath.”
The Sunday Times

“In this engrossing, romantic historical novel...Colin depicts World War I, sleazy cabarets, massive unemployment, the Nazi empire, and the even more savage horrors of World War II, all navigated by a strong, determined heroine.”
Booklist

“Captivating...Beatrice Colin’s irresistible novel, The Glimmer Palace, follows the eventful life of a Berlin orphan who becomes a rising star in the brand-new medium of the cinema. Early 20th-century Berlin is just like Colin’s main character: anything it wants to be and full of promise to be more. . . . Colin’s memorable tale is also the story of Germany’s film industry between the wars. Though the historical detail rings true, it is a mere backdrop to the compelling story of Lilly... The Glimmer Palace is haunting.”
—Bookpage


“This is a big, plush velvet cushion of a book, dense with historical detail and already picking up comparisons to Sarah Waters’ weighty, sexy epics. It’s the story of Lilly Aphrodite, an orphan turned silent movie star, whose trajectory mirrors Germany’s freefall from warring, empire- building superpower, through the Depression and seduction by Nazism, between 1900 and 1936. Colin’s omniscient narration recalls Muriel Spark at her sharpest and pokes into the futures of even the least significant supporting character, following them into trenches, concentration camps, hopes, regrets and reminiscences.”
—The List


“Colin deftly weaves into the narrative ongoing observations on cinema as a form of entertainment needed and craved by a bereft populace, and she eventually brings this aspect of the novel to the forefront. Highly recommended.”
—Library Journal

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