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Description - The Truth About Lou by Angela von der Lippe

This is a compelling novel based on the life of poet Lou Salome - protege of Nietzsche, lover of Rilke and muse to Freud - that brilliantly evokes the Sturm and Drang of turn-of-the-century Europe. An old hatbox of memories, an inscribed volume of Rilke's poems, and a deathbed promise - so begins a young woman's quest to uncover the truth about Lou Salome, infamous literary muse and poet. From a secluded winter retreat, a writer named Julia plumbs the mysteries of Lou's remarkable life, unearthing clues to several long-lost secrets. Taking the famous muse as her own, Julia imagines Lou's tale unfolding through the three major loves of her life: At age twenty-one she meets the smitten Friedrich Nietzsche; at age thirty-eight she takes Rainer Maria Rilke as her first lover; and at fifty she befriends Sigmund Freud. The cast of characters includes the Wagners, Tolstoy, Rodin, the Freud circle, Marlene Dietrich, and Hitler, among many others. Weaving together themes of memory, religious faith and the tensions between intellect and passion, Angela von der Lippe's stunning literary debut reveals the richness of an extraordinary woman from an all but vanished time.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781582433585
ISBN-10: 1582433585
Format: Hardback
(235mm x 155mm x 24mm)
Pages: 304
Imprint: Counterpoint
Publisher: Counterpoint
Publish Date: 5-Apr-2007
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions - The Truth About Lou by Angela von der Lippe

Book Reviews - The Truth About Lou by Angela von der Lippe

US Kirkus Review » A debut about a famous fin-de-siecle figure.Lou Andreas-Salome was born in St. Petersburg in 1861. She died in Gottingen, Germany, in 1937. Her life spanned several historic epochs: the end of the Russian empire, the entirety of the Weimer Republic, the ascendancy of the Nazi Party. She knew Wagner, Tolstoy, Rodin and Marlene Dietrich. She was a prolific writer, with published works varying from roman a clef to philosophy. But she is best remembered for relationships with three of the great men of her time: Friedrich Nietzsche, Rainer Maria Rilke and Sigmund Freud. The tragedy of muses and mistresses, of course, is that their histories are contingent; no matter what they achieve, they are inevitably overshadowed by the men to whom they attach themselves. A woman of Lou's experience and accomplishment, however, demands a vividly imagined and elegantly executed novel. This is not that novel. The author has done her homework-she translated Lou's biography of Rilke into English-and she's certainly earnest, but that's not enough. Exposition is offered in place of action, and the dialogue is composed almost entirely of baroque declarations. The famous names are ciphers, and Lou herself never quite becomes a real person. To the extent that Lou emerges at all, she's insufferably self-absorbed, which makes it especially unfortunate that she's not only the novel's protagonist, but also its narrator. Von der Lippe mostly ignores Lou's work in favor of her relationships-with both the famous and the not-so-famous-but she never really explores or explains why this woman was so fascinating to such an astounding array of geniuses. The frame story, in which a contemporary academic investigates Lou's life to fulfill her grandmother's dying wish, is not just superfluous, but confusing: It's never quite clear, but it seems that Lou is dictating this story from beyond the grave.The truth about Lou? Not likely. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Angela von der Lippe

Angela von der Lippe is a senior editor at WW Norton in New York. As a poet, she maintains a lifelong interest in translation. She lives in New York City.

Books By Angela von der Lippe

Truth About Lou by Angela von der Lippe
Paperback, April 2009