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Marlene: A Novel

Marlene: A Novel

Написано C. W. Gortner

Озвучено Bernadette Dunne


Marlene: A Novel

Написано C. W. Gortner

Озвучено Bernadette Dunne

оценки:
4/5 (10 оценки)
Длина:
14 hours
Издатель:
Издано:
May 24, 2016
ISBN:
9780062471307
Формат:
Аудиокнига

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Описание

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 can cure her wanderlust. As Hitler and the Nazis rise to power, she sets sail for America. Rivaling the success of another European import, Greta Garbo, Marlene quickly becomes one of Hollywood's leading ladies, starring with legends such as Gary Cooper, John Wayne, and Cary Grant. Desperate for her return, Hitler tries to lure her with dazzling promises. Marlene instead chooses to become an American citizen, and after her new nation is forced into World War II, she tours with the USO, performing for thousands of Allied troops in Europe and Africa.

But one day she returns to Germany. Escorted by General George Patton himself, Marlene is heartbroken by the war's devastation and the evil legacy of the Third Reich that has transformed her homeland and the family she loved.

An enthralling and insightful account of this extraordinary legend, Marlene reveals the inner life of a woman of grit, glamour, and ambition who defied convention, seduced the world, and forged her own path on her own terms.

Издатель:
Издано:
May 24, 2016
ISBN:
9780062471307
Формат:
Аудиокнига

Также доступно как...

Также доступно как книгеКниге


Об авторе

C. W. Gortner is the author of many bestselling historical novels—including Mademoiselle Chanel—which have been published in more than twenty countries. He lives in San Francisco.

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4.2
10 оценки / 10 Обзоры
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Отзывы читателей

  • (4/5)
    This book appears to be well researched. The Marlene portrayed as a young woman, I did not like. She seemed ambitious and selfish to the extreme. They say sexuality is a scale with the very feminine woman on one end, the macho man at the other, and everyone else at varying points. Marlene seemed to be situated nearer the masculine. She was the breadwinner and supported her husband all through his life. She did amazingly brave things during the second world war. For me, this was when she became a much more likeable person. What I didn't like were the descriptive sex scenes. Tell me about a relationship but I don't want to be in the bedroom watching. I enjoyed this book.
  • (4/5)
    Marlene Dietrich is immediately identifiable. One of the screen sirens from the Golden Age of Hollywood, her sultry movie roles and photographs made her a huge star. But that public persona was just a part of who she was. C.W. Gortner's Marlene, a fictionalization of Dietrich's life from 1914 until 1946, fleshes out the woman and the actress, telling her fascinating story from growing up in Germany with the deprivations after WWI to international stardom and then to ultimately turning her back on her homeland under Nazi rule.Raised by a very strict, widowed mother who was forever conscious of their lineage and its due, Dietrich had a difficult relationship with her mother and her compliant, medically fragile older sister, Liesel. Interested in more than the children, kitchen, church triumvirate that most German girls of her class aspired to, she didn't fit in with her fellow students either. Introduced to the movies by a French teacher, she found her passion. Initially showing some talent at violin, she was sent to a conservatory. Although her professor tutored her privately, her grades only showed improvement because he was enthralled by the teenager. Having her first affair with him, she learned early the absolute power her sexuality held. It was this raw sexuality that eventually led to her success in the decadent cabarets and then German movies where she outshone her costars and which led to Hollywood coming to call. Combining a need to escape her mother's sense of morality with her own determined drive for fame and money, Dietrich, more than many women of her time, crafted her own life.Openly bisexual, Dietrich indulged in affairs with numerous people. There were those who could further her career and those to whom she was magnetically drawn. She married once and had a daughter. Husband Rudi and daughter Heidede were paradoxically incredibly important in her life and also brushed aside more often than not. Her most enduring relationship was with the public Dietrich she herself created. Her life was unconventional; from her friendships within the gay and trans community in Germany before WWII to her financial support of her husband to her legion of affairs, Dietrich trod her own road. Gortner does a good job showing the scandals and defiance that marked her life. He shows her sheer determination and the ways in which she was always a survivor, pushing forward after any setback. But most importantly he shows how she fell in love with people and things that shaped her life indelibly.The narration of the novel is in the first person, which allows Gortner to give Dietrich motivations for all of her actions, some the reader will sympathize with and some of which they will disapprove. The drawing of Germany and the feeling of a desperate sort of decadence between the wars is quite well done. There are quite a few steamy sex scenes in the novel and while Dietrich was undeniably voracious sexually, for pleasure and for gain, these scenes didn't really add much to the narrative itself. The middle portion of the novel, detailing many of her movies, her directors, and her leading men, lags some although it does also show the ultimate control that the studios had over their contracted actors and the way that that control chafed Dietrich. As Hitler gains power in Germany and Dietrich's feelings about the Nazis become clearer and more focused, the novel picks up speed. In fact, her USO tours and her refusal to return to Germany are the strongest pieces of the novel, beautifully showcasing her strength and character. The ending of the novel, not the end of Dietrich's long life by any stretch of the imagination, is a bit abrupt but does creatively tie her back to Garbo, whom she's spent so long first trying to emulate and then trying to distance herself from in becoming her own distinct star. Those who have an interest in Old Hollywood will thrill to all the cameos of actors and actresses, including an author or two, who play larger or smaller parts in Dietrich's life. Once started, this is a hard novel to put down because in it, Dietrich is once again the star of her own life.
  • (4/5)
    I opened this book knowing little about Marlene Dietrich other than she was a famous actress of German origin in the first half of the twentieth century. This fictionalized novel did a wonderful job of fleshing Marlene out and setting her in the context of 1920s Berlin, Hollywood in the 30s, and the war years of the 1940s. An excellence read and highly recommended.
  • (4/5)
    When I was a young girl, my sister and I spent many weekends with my maternal grandparents. As the only grandchildren they spoiled is with a great deal, of attention and love. On Saturday evening we watched old movies, my grandfather loved the golden days of Hollywood and as a German, loved Marlene Dietrich. He always said she was a hell of a women who had lived nine lives.The book starts when Marlene is a school girl in Berlin, living with her younger sister Liesel and her mother. Her grandmother shows and tells Marlene how beautiful she is and how this will open doors for her. She grew into a very determined woman, did things her own way, became a success in Hollywood and had indiscriminate love affairs with both men and women. Although married, with one child, Marlene generally lived life the way she wanted. Although married, a marriage that would last, both partners had other relations, often the others love interest lived with them and was accepted by both spouses. So strange, but true nonetheless. But, she was extremely loyal, supported all till the end, always aware of her responsibilities.Golden days of Hollywood, one of my favorite parts, all the leading players and notaries of the day. John Wayne, Bette Davis, Gary Cooper, Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth as well as Hemingway and Remarque. Then of course Hitler and the war, afraid for mother and sister left in Germany. She would do more than her part in the war, going on a USO tour with Danny Thomas and what she sees will forever change her outlook, her character. Gortner does a wonderful job showing is just how complex this woman was, how much inner strength she possessed, how much of a survivor. By books end she had earned my admiration as had the author. The author note details what happened in her life after the end of the book, and explains why he ended the book where he did. A wonderful book about an amazing woman.ARC from publisher.
  • (4/5)
    I went into this novel with very limited knowledge of Ms. Dietrich. I have a big interest in the old movies and I’ve seen her in some movies but I think you could put what I really know about her in a couple of sentences. That is why I love reading – whether it be a biography or a novelization – it brings a character to life. It’s my job as a reader to sort the real from the made up. I trust Mr. Gortner as a writer to not go too far afield with his storytelling. I’ve read several books of his at this point and he has a way of bringing this historical women to life.The book is told in Marlene’s voice and it starts when she is a young girl dealing with issues at school. Her mother is a very disciplined woman and expects nothing short of perfection from her girls. Marlene’s sister is “fragile” so she gets away with things Marlene never could and this causes friction. I found it interesting to visit the mundane before the more adventurous Marlene took over.And that Marlene is the star of the book. Once she discovers her power there is no holding her back. She learns how to manipulate both men and women. She learns the power of her beauty and she uses it. I am not sure I came out of this reading liking Ms. Dietrich – from what I gleaned after some further research I’m not sure she was a likable woman but she was determined.The book was a fascinating read about a legendary woman. She lived through some very troubled times including the rise of the Nazis in her home country. Mr. Gortner has an easy writing style that makes the journey through Ms. Dietrich’s life worth the time.
  • (4/5)
    I have only been a fan of Marlene Dietrich for about a year now. So far, I've only read one of the many biographies about her. This novel didn't tell me anything I already didn't know, but I was able, thanks to the wonderful writing, to live her life along with her. She was an extraordinary woman, who lived by her own rules, rebelling against the attitudes of the world and times she lived in. I admire her most for what she did for the Allied soldiers during the Second World War, risking her life, her family's well being (her sister, uncle, and mother still lived in Germany during this time). She was no fan of either the Nazis or Hitler and wasn't until the United States, her adopted country, became directly involved in the war against Germany, Italy, and Japan, that she voiced her opposition to Nazi Germany.
    I won't debate her acting ability, because whether or not she was a good actress doesn't matter to me. She made her mark on Hollywood and used her fame during the Second World War to help the Allies.
    I would recommend this novel to anyone who is a Marlene Dietrich fan or anyone else who wants to know more about this extraordinary woman.
  • (5/5)
    Ah Gortner... He's one of those authors that you know is going to be good when reading his works. He knows how to create dramatic characters in an equally dramatic setting to create a story that stands out. This book is no different!Before starting this work, the most I knew about Marlene Dietrich was that she was a famous black and white movie actress from the World War II era and that she was an ardent anti-Nazi. What the author has done has flesh her out so completely that I felt I was meeting someone completely new. He gives her such a rich background and shows us as she develops into the personality history comes to know, that the reader can't help but be held fixated by.I love how the author showed us so many aspects of her background. World War I, acting school, her many affairs, and her nightlife in decadent 1920s Berlin all show us the complex character that can't be fit in any one character mold. She's one of those personalities that defies convention and compartmentalization.Her best admirable aspect, though, that the author showed was Marlene’s brash disregard for how the world saw her. She didn't let society, family, lovers, or the movie industry dictate who she was or how she thought. Any woman who has the balls to show even a small part of her true self to the world is to be admired.Then of course, there is the author’s usual talent at historical detail. Not only is history explored and used to develop Marlene; equal measure is given to history itself. The author gives us an intimate and intricate look at a society on the brink. The interwar years in Germany were a time of great change, with political organizations popping into and out of office with disturbing regularity. Berlin provides an incredible backdrop for the story of both Marlene and of the development of Germany into the fascist state we knew it became. It was fascinating to see how Berlin developed from decadent night clubs where porn shows were the norm to a city full of jack boots and censorship. Seeing Germany's descent into madness through Marlene’s eyes contributed to the overall historical tone of the story as well as to her own growth and journey.Needless to say, even though the year is yet young, I think I'm safe to say this book is among my best of 2017. The author has created a glorious story of a country in flux, torn between so many mirrors of itself that no one knows the true Germany. Along with that tale, we get a hell of a woman who is full of grit, courage, and enough ambition to topple Hollywood. Marlene is one of those personalities that you can't help but love and admire. It's safe to say that I will be looking for more of this author’s work, if this book is any indicator of his level as a writer.
  • (5/5)
    The first moment I got this book in the mail (Thank you, William Morrow Paperbacks!) I got excited and at the same time had to settle down (I was sick with an awful flu that knocked me down and got the entire household sick). It could not have come at a better time. I say that not only in the sense that I needed a book to get me out of a reading rut and also to distract me from this flu, but considering what’s going on in the world now, it’s perfect timing.I loved this book. Everything about it was all that I had imagined Marlene Dietrich would be. The book captured who she was; strong willed, free spirited, glamourous yet determined to make her name out there known in the world. What I loved best was how her attitude during this particular time period. She participated in just about every deadly sin listed but did it with grace and poise. I loved how this book captured that essence and that was what made her shine even through the War. I absolutely loved her bravery and willingness to stand up against the Nazis even though she loved her country dearly and it tore her apart to see it ruined by the end of WWII.The writing in the book is well done. It was enough to engage the reader and to keep the pages turning. Now, I do notice in some other reviews I’ve read, some readers didn’t like the fact that the book stops at a certain time period (after WWII). Fair enough, perhaps they wanted more out of Marlene. I was satisfied with it, because if you really think about it, the absolute highlight and prime moments of her life was during this time period. This book was meant to capture those particular occasions. So try not to feel jilted or robbed! It’s still a great read and it goes by rather quick!I’d have to say one of my absolute favorite parts in the book was her experiences in Weimar Berlin. It was beautifully written and you could just feel the cigarette smoke, the music, and you can almost picture the decadence that permeated throughout the cabarets. It was perfect!. Another part that I loved, and that I had waited throughout the book to read and was getting worried that it wasn’t going to be mentioned, was Lili Marleen. Such an iconic song it had to be in the book! And it was. It tugged at my heart and I welled up with emotion reading that particular passage.Beautifully written and an excellent novel I greatly recommend this book to historical fiction lovers or lovers of Marlene Dietrich. Her actions during the WWII is crucial and something to emulate. Especially for what we are going through right now in the world.
  • (4/5)
    I went into this novel with very limited knowledge of Ms. Dietrich. I have a big interest in the old movies and I’ve seen her in some movies but I think you could put what I really know about her in a couple of sentences. That is why I love reading – whether it be a biography or a novelization – it brings a character to life. It’s my job as a reader to sort the real from the made up. I trust Mr. Gortner as a writer to not go too far afield with his storytelling. I’ve read several books of his at this point and he has a way of bringing this historical women to life.The book is told in Marlene’s voice and it starts when she is a young girl dealing with issues at school. Her mother is a very disciplined woman and expects nothing short of perfection from her girls. Marlene’s sister is “fragile” so she gets away with things Marlene never could and this causes friction. I found it interesting to visit the mundane before the more adventurous Marlene took over.And that Marlene is the star of the book. Once she discovers her power there is no holding her back. She learns how to manipulate both men and women. She learns the power of her beauty and she uses it. I am not sure I came out of this reading liking Ms. Dietrich – from what I gleaned after some further research I’m not sure she was a likable woman but she was determined.The book was a fascinating read about a legendary woman. She lived through some very troubled times including the rise of the Nazis in her home country. Mr. Gortner has an easy writing style that makes the journey through Ms. Dietrich’s life worth the time.
  • (2/5)
    There's something about the whole concept of fictional biography that makes me feel a little crawly. It's one thing to use a real person within a story of your own invention as Doctorow does in Ragtime, but quite another to attempt to write a biographical novel in which you mix established facts with fictionalized episodes. What does that even create? It's not reality, but not wholly fiction. Gortner relies heavily on relationships in his recounting of the life of Marlene Dietrich. Familial and sexual relationships dominate the story, and the latter often feels so prurient that it made me uncomfortable. Again, it's one thing to know a fact about someone's life, in this case that Dietrich led a very separate life from her husband Rudi Siebert, yet remained married to him until his death. It's quite another to be treated to sex scenes and pillow talk between celebrities. In spite of the accounting of Dietrich's relationships, I never got a feel for who she was. One would think... would hope anyway, that if you're going to fictionalize the life of a star, the account would bring that person vividly to life. But Gortner never manages to get very far into who Marlene Dietrich really is, even inside Gortner's own head. I know no more about his Dietrich than I know about how my neighbors feel about Mariah Carey, and frankly, by about page 300 I'd ceased to care.Marlene: A Novel is for people who want some kind of fantasy about Dietrich. That's fine, but it's not for me. Gortner gets two stars for creating a highly readable book if nothing else. And when you think about it, that's something of a triumph for someone writing in a genre this awkward.