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The artificial silk girl - Irmgard Keun

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Title
The artificial silk girl
Author
Irmgard Keun
format
Paperback / softback
Publisher
Penguin Classics
Language
English
UK Publication Date
20190328

A hilarious, tragic novel about a would-be movie star in 1920s Berlin, from the author of Child of All Nations

Doris is going to be a big star. Wearing a stolen fur coat and recently fired from her office job, she takes an all-night train to Berlin to make it in the movies. But what she encounters in the city is not fame and fortune, but gnawing hunger, seedy bars, and exploitative men - and as Doris sinks ever lower, she resorts to desperate measures to survive. Very funny and intensely moving, this is a dazzling portrait of roaring Berlin in the 1920s, and a poignant exploration of the doomed pursuit of fame and glamour.

The Artificial Silk Girl was a huge bestseller in Weimar Germany before the Nazis banned it, and is today Keun's best-loved book in Germany. Funny, fresh and radical in its dissection of the limited options available to working women, it is a novel that speaks to our times.

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Irmgard Keun was born in Berlin in 1905 and found instant success with her novels Gilgi (1931) and The Artificial Silk Girl (1932). Everything changed in 1933 when the Nazis blacklisted her and destroyed her books; in response, she attempted to sue the Gestapo for loss of earnings. She left Germany (and her husband) in 1936 and lived in exile in Europe, where she wrote Child of All Nations (1936) and After Midnight (1937). She sneaked back into Germany in 1940 under a false name and spent the rest of the war in Cologne. In later years, she wrote for magazines and radio and raised a daughter alone. She died in 1982.

Just now I want to tell everyone about Irmgard Keun ... A great writer
Ali Smith

Keun has few rivals - I can think of none - as a chronicler of the ambience or the consequences of the rise of Nazism
Michael Hofmann

The Artificial Silk Girl follows Doris into the underbelly of a city that had once seemed all glamour and promise ... Kathie von Ankum's English translation will bring this masterwork to the foreground once more, giving a new generation the chance to discover Keun for themselves
Elle

Damned by the Nazis, hailed by the feminists ... a truly charming window into a young woman's life in the early 1930s
Los Angeles Times

A young girl navigates interwar German society and the expectations - or lack thereof - placed upon women, in this poignant, melancholy novel ... This heartbreaking story of dashed hopes is one that still has the power to affect and inspire
Publishers Weekly

Type
BOOK
Keyword Index
Berlin (Germany) - History - 1918-1945 - Fiction.
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
Number of Pages
143

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