A hilarious, tragic novel about a would-be movie star in 1920s Berlin, from the author of Child of All Nations.
Irmgard Keun was born in Berlin in 1905 and found instant success with her novels Gilgi (1931) and The Artificial Silk Girl (1932). Everything changed in 1933 when the Nazis blacklisted her and destroyed her books; in response, she attempted to sue the Gestapo for loss of earnings. She left Germany (and her husband) in 1936 and lived in exile in Europe, where she wrote Child of All Nations (1936) and After Midnight (1937). She sneaked back into Germany in 1940 under a false name and spent the rest of the war in Cologne. In later years, she wrote for magazines and radio and raised a daughter alone. She died in 1982.
Just now I want to tell everyone about Irmgard Keun ... A great
writer -- Ali Smith
Keun has few rivals - I can think of none - as a chronicler of the ambience or the consequences of the rise of Nazism -- Michael Hofmann
The Artificial Silk Girl follows Doris into the underbelly of a city that had once seemed all glamour and promise ... Kathie von Ankum's English translation will bring this masterwork to the foreground once more, giving a new generation the chance to discover Keun for themselves * Elle *
Damned by the Nazis, hailed by the feminists ... a truly charming window into a young woman's life in the early 1930s * Los Angeles Times *
A young girl navigates interwar German society and the expectations - or lack thereof - placed upon women, in this poignant, melancholy novel ... This heartbreaking story of dashed hopes is one that still has the power to affect and inspire * Publishers Weekly *