Friday, August 31, 2007

My French Whore, by Gene Wilder

(hb; 2007)

From the inside flap:

"The beloved actor and screenwriter's first novel, set during World War I, delicately and elegantly explores a most unusual romance. It's almost at the end of the war and Paul Peachy, a young railway employee and amateur actor in Milwaukee, realizes his marriage is one-sided. He enlists, and ships off to France. Peachy instantly realizes how out of his depth he is -- and never more so than when he is captured. Risking everything, Peachy -- who as a child of immigrants speaks German -- makes the reckless decision to impersonate one of the enemy's most famous spies.

"As the urbane and accomplished spy Harry Stroller, Peachy has access to a world he could never have known existed -- a world of sumptuous iving, world-weary men, and available women. But when one of those women, Annie, a young, beautiful and wary courtesan, turns out to be more than she seems, Peachy's life is transformed forever."

Review:

Funny, deftly-composed and sentimental (but not overly so), this novella charms. The characters are well-rendered, as are the various milieux Peachy finds himself in.

Great, speedy read. Can't wait to see what Wilder comes out with next.

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