Francine Prose’s novel evokes Paris from the sizzling hedonism of the Jazz Age to the maelstrom of fear and violence that blankets the city during the Nazi occupation. As the exuberant ’20s give way to the depression of the ’30s, Lou Villars abandons her job as a server and a performer at the Chameleon Club in Paris to become a talented race car driver. She falls in love with a seductive German driver, Inge, and is soon ensnared in a web of flattery and lies that will warp her earnest desire for love and approval into something darker. Eventually Lou becomes a Nazi collaborator during the German occupation of France.
As increasingly difficult circumstances turn one thwarted individual to treachery — and other characters to defiant acts of bravery and perseverance — the novel raises critical questions about the difficulty of locating historical truth, much less dispensing moral judgments. Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 explores the genesis of evil, the unforeseen consequences of love, and the ultimate unreliability of all narrative.