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Never anyone but you (2018)

av Rupert Thomson

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
932227,364 (3.68)8
Named a Best Book of the Year by The Guardian, The Observer, and Sydney Morning Herald.  The true story of a love affair between two extraordinary women becomes a literary tour deforce in this novel that recreates the surrealist movement in Paris and the horrors of the two world wars with a singular incandescence and intimacy. In the years preceding World War I, two young women meet, by chance, in a provincial town in France. Suzanne Malherbe, a shy seventeen-year-old with a talent for drawing, is completely entranced by the brilliant but troubled Lucie Schwob, who comes from a family of wealthy Jewish intellectuals. They embark on a clandestine love affair, terrified they will be discovered, but then, in an astonishing twist of fate, the mother of one marries the father of the other. As "sisters" they are finally free of suspicion, and, hungry for a more stimulating milieu, they move to Paris at a moment when art, literature, and politics blend in an explosive cocktail. Having reinvented themselves as Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore, they move in the most glamorous social circles, meeting everyone from Hemingway and Dalí to André Breton, and produce provocative photographs that still seem avant-garde today. In the 1930s, with the rise of anti-Semitism and threat of fascism, they leave Paris for Jersey, and it is on this idyllic island that they confront their destiny, creating a campaign of propaganda against Hitler's occupying forces that will put their lives in jeopardy. Brilliantly imagined, profoundly thought-provoking, and ultimately heartbreaking, Never Anyone But You infuses life into a forgotten history as only great literature can.… (mer)
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In the years right before World War One, two teenaged girls meet. Suzanne Malherbe and Lucie Schwob fall in love, which of course they must hide. Then in an odd twist of fate, one’s mother marries the other’s father, making them step-sisters. Now they are free to live together, to put their arms around each other. If this was in a work of fiction I would think it was too much; but this is not fiction, these were real people. After they leave school, they move to Paris where, as part of the Surrealist movement, they fit in, one an artist the other a writer, both adopting male names (Marcel Moore and the gender-fluid Claude Cahun). Their best known works are photographs they collaborated on.

As anti-Semitism penetrates Paris, they move to the Channel Island of Jersey. Now middle aged, no one pays them much attention. When the Nazis occupy the island, they set about their greatest Surrealistic project: subverting the Nazis. As “old women” (barely in their 50s!) they were pretty invisible to the soldiers. They would type up subversive leaflets and sneak them into pockets and cigarette packs. This went on for quite a while before the Nazis figured out it was them. They spent a good amount of time imprisoned by the Nazis, held in solitary, refusing to cooperate. Amazingly, they both survived the war. The Nazis never did believe that the two women were working alone; they felt there *had* to be a network of Resistance fighters behind them!

Thomson tells the story from Marcel’s point of view; she outlived Claude and was the more well-grounded of the pair- Claude seems to have inherited some of her mother’s mental illnesses. The prose is clear and simple, but I felt that Marcel was a somewhat distant narrator. The part of the women’s lives where they are living in Paris, mingling with all the famous people, seemed almost brushed over, as if it were an unimportant interlude, a list of famous names. Things only come to life once they begin their undercover work. Marcel’s focus was always on her beloved Claude, and so other people, no matter how famous, get short shrift. Four stars. ( )
  lauriebrown54 | Oct 1, 2018 |
The true story of friends and lovers Lucie and Suzanne,who, as writer/artist/photographers "Claude Cahun" and "Marcel Moore," would move from the rarified artistic circles of Parisian Surrealism and Dadaism with André Breton, Paul Éluard, Henri Michaud, Sylvia Beach, and others, to imprisonment for distributing anti-Nazi propaganda and the war's aftermath. Set in volatile historical times, an atmospherically shimmering read.

"Michaud had told her once that the self wasn't one thing, but many. Nothing was fixed or stable. To be was to become." ( )
  beaujoe | Jan 14, 2018 |
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Named a Best Book of the Year by The Guardian, The Observer, and Sydney Morning Herald.  The true story of a love affair between two extraordinary women becomes a literary tour deforce in this novel that recreates the surrealist movement in Paris and the horrors of the two world wars with a singular incandescence and intimacy. In the years preceding World War I, two young women meet, by chance, in a provincial town in France. Suzanne Malherbe, a shy seventeen-year-old with a talent for drawing, is completely entranced by the brilliant but troubled Lucie Schwob, who comes from a family of wealthy Jewish intellectuals. They embark on a clandestine love affair, terrified they will be discovered, but then, in an astonishing twist of fate, the mother of one marries the father of the other. As "sisters" they are finally free of suspicion, and, hungry for a more stimulating milieu, they move to Paris at a moment when art, literature, and politics blend in an explosive cocktail. Having reinvented themselves as Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore, they move in the most glamorous social circles, meeting everyone from Hemingway and Dalí to André Breton, and produce provocative photographs that still seem avant-garde today. In the 1930s, with the rise of anti-Semitism and threat of fascism, they leave Paris for Jersey, and it is on this idyllic island that they confront their destiny, creating a campaign of propaganda against Hitler's occupying forces that will put their lives in jeopardy. Brilliantly imagined, profoundly thought-provoking, and ultimately heartbreaking, Never Anyone But You infuses life into a forgotten history as only great literature can.

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