Garish Days

Lynn Caraganis, Author George Weidenfeld & Nicholson $0 (214p) ISBN 978-1-55584-037-2
Imagine being 19, a smasher, and traveling to the fall openings in Paris on the Berengaria during the hectic euphoria of the year before World War II. And imagine being preempted at Chanel by a large, impressively handsome Frenchman named Charles de Gainsbourg, rich and sophisticated enough to be the squire-about-town every girl dreams of. This is what happens to Louise Merrill, who recollects her adventures here breathless, diary-like prose, chatting on about shipboard parties and secluded walks along the Seine with Charles. A delightful old Parisian gossip tells Louise that Charles is a Jew. At the moment this is of no consequence; Louise is in love; she pretends she will be allowed to stay in Paris forever. But her aunt Hattiewhom we never meet, but whose letters endear her to usjoins forces with Louise's parents to ensure her return to America on the prescribed date. Both lovers are convinced that this is an interlude, to be followed by marriage, and fervent letters cross the Atlantic until France falls and the narrative comes to a sudden, understated end. The charm and unpretentiousness of the characters and the gaiety and insouciance of Louise's voice stir this first novel to sparkling life. (January 11)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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