This was my second book from the Books That Matter feminist subscription box which I gifted myself back in November 2020, then gifted to some of my nearest and dearest. Along with the book, you get some gorgeous extras – including stationery AND snacks. Did they invent this box especially for me? I think so.
Anyway, back to the book. What a book. It was inspired by a real photograph of Marlene Dietrich, Anna May Wong and Leni Riefenstahl which was taken in 1928 and serves as a jumping-off point for a pretty sprawling narrative which travels from China to Europe to the US and merrily jumps from the roaring 30s to the 21st century and back again, without much warning.
- Marlene. All of the women were trailblazers, all very human and flawed, but Marlene just came across as a woman with very few fucks to give. A dream of a character!
- The revelations behind the glamour of that era and the insight into making movies which were always political.
- The fact that there wasn’t really a plot. It was more like snapshots, but each was beautifully memorable.
I didn’t love:
- Some of my favourite parts of the book were the fictional characters surrounding the protagonists. Just occasionally, I was more interested in them than in the three women they supported.
Would recommend it to:
Somebody who wants to get lost in characters and who is prepared to stick with it until the end.