In 2013, a trend emerged in publishing. A considerable number of bestselling novels were longer than the average book and told stories that spanned decades and generations. Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life and Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch are just two examples of the many that followed this format in 2013. And it seems that another author will be continuing the trend in an exceptional way. Bestselling author, Francine Prose, has twenty novels to her name along with a children’s book, three short story collections, and seven works of nonfiction. She will be adding a new and big novel to her repertoire in a few days.
Due out on April 22nd, Prose’s newest book, Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932, spans two decades and includes numerous individual stories that are intricately woven together to play out in a setting and a time that Prose makes her own. The majority of the story takes place at a cabaret, filled with cross-dressers, lovers, and celebrities. The book will follow several storylines and narrators, weaving the reader between interconnected lives. The complexity of characters and the weight of the historical events occurring during the time frame of the novel (1920s to the end of World War II) will surely complicate the story, but Prose’s past novels prove that she is as creative with her plot twists as she is with her quirky characters. She is certainly more than capable of her carrying her readers seamlessly through the 448 pages of the hefty novel.
Kirkus Review, Publishers Weekly, and The New York Times Book Review have given the book positive reviews, although they all seem to agree that the length of the novel causes its momentum to slow at times. But Prose is a seasoned writer of all genres. She has stated that Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 took her five years to write. The book will undoubtedly hit the bestseller lists, and fast. People will be eager to get their hands on it. So keep your eyes peeled and be sure to read it as quickly as you can while still savoring every word of delicious prose. In the meantime, if you want to check out any of Prose’s other novels, I recommend The Glorious Ones, Household Saints, and Blue Angel along with her short story collection The Peaceable Kingdom.