Francine Prose: Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932

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In 1932, the Hungarian photographer Brassaï took a picture of two women in a Parisian bar: one wearing a spangly, evening gown, the other a tuxedo. The latter, Violette Morris, became both a star athlete and an interrogator for the Gestapo, and is the subject of Francine Prose’s novel Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932. Prose thought she might write a biography, but found herself desiring to take freedoms with character and point-of-view so the book circulates around a fictionalized character named Lou Villars. We never hear Villars’ voice but instead gain our sense of her through the personal writings and letters of those who knew her.