As the clock chimed the turn of the twentieth century, Lilly Nelly
Aphrodite took her first breath. Born to a cabaret dancer and soon
orphaned in a scandalous double murder, Lilly finds refuge at a
Catholic orphanage, coming under the wing of the, at times, severe
Sister August, the first in a string of lost loves. There she meets
Hanne Schmidt, a teen prostitute, and forms a bond that will last
them through tumultuous love affairs, disastrous marriages and
destitution during the First World War and the subsequent economic
collapse. As the century progresses, Lilly and Hanne move from the
tawdry glamour of the tingle-tangle nightclubs to the shadow world
of health films before Lilly finds success and stardom in the new
medium of motion pictures and ultimately falls in love with a man
whose fate could cost her everything she has worked for or help her
discover her true self. Gripping and darkly seductive, The Luminous
Life of Lilly Aphrodite showcases all the glitter and splendour of
the brief heyday of the Weimar Republic, and the rise of Hollywood
to its golden age. As it foreshadows the horrors of the Second
World War, the novel asks what price is paid when identity becomes
unfixed and the social order is upended.
John Murray Publishers Ltd
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General & literary fiction >
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