Winds of War

loversTwo recent novels offer snapshots of a Europe on the brink of world war.  “Lovers at the Chameleon Club” by Francine Prose  is a ”tour de force” which takes place in Paris  between the 1920s and the World War.  The Chameleon is a cabaret  where  Paris demimonde gathers.  At the center of the actions is Lou Villars, a cross-dressing, race car driving; unlucky in love and a spy.  The times called this ““A novel of great reach and power .”  Meanwhile, in “Midnight in Europe” by Alan Furst is set during the Spanish Civil war.  Two arms dealers seek to supply guns to Republican Loyalists. Their efforts run afoul of both Nazi agents, who support Franco’s Fascist rebels, and the Soviets, who are using the Republican cause for their own ends.  Says Wall Street, “Furst is a master at conjuring European scenes and moods [of] World War II.”  Readers who enjoyed these stories might also enjoy All Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, which takes place in Nazi-occupied France.

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