‘Hollywood, we’re reminded, is after all a through-the-looking glass world, and Byrne writes authoritatively about its illusions and obscene, glittering excess … Compelling’ Daily Mail
‘Both eye-poppingly fun and thought-provoking’ The Times
Madou is the most beautiful woman in the world.
Discovered in a Berlin cabaret in the roaring twenties, she is brought to the glamour of Los Angeles. She becomes a superstar of the silver screen and Hollywood’s darling, but nothing perfect lasts forever.
The cost of beauty is always high, for those who have it and those who live in its shadow. The weight falls on her daughter to untangle the complicated truths of being ordinary beside an
extraordinary mother, a woman who has bent and broken and skewed her perception of reality, a woman adored by the world, but from whom her daughter longs to escape.
Evocative and deeply moving, Blonde Venus is based on Marlene Dietrich’s glittering life, a dramatic novel set in Hollywood’s golden age, that tells the story of mothers and daughters and of time’s war against beauty – and the unbearable pain of a woman when beauty is the only game in town.
Previously published as Mirror, Mirror.
'Byrne's fictional life of a screen siren is thought-provoking as well as hugely entertaining .... Byrne's Dietrich is called Madou. And she is every bit as glamorous, witty and highly sexed as her reputation suggests.... both eye-poppingly fun and thought-provoking.' The Times 'Paula Byrne has also drawn on real events for this, a kind of fictionalised memoir of Maria Riva, the daughter of Marlene Dietrich. In Byrne's book the pair become 'Kater' and 'Madou' respectively, and while the latter is the most beautiful woman in the world, her child is self-loathing and fat. Daringly, Byrne also grants the mirror that is Madou's confidante and companion a voice, and not just any voice, but that of Dietrich's friend, Noel Coward. It shouldn't work, but it does: Hollywood, we're reminded, is after all a through-the-looking glass world, and Byrne writes authoritatively about its illusions and obscene, glittering excess.... Compelling.'Daily Mail
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