Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky

August 23rd. 2011

I’m not sure where I bought this book, it had been sitting in my TBR pile for the whole summer, but the title intrigued me as I had no idea that two people would be friends–or as the back cover provides, lovers. This was a novel written by a screenwriter after the movie had already been produced–so, it read like you might imagine a movie playing out. Not an easy accomplishment and imminently readable. Though I’ve never been a big Coco Chanel fan, I do love classical music and read with interest the ins and outs of Paris life in the early decades of the 1900s. Those were weird times and Chris Greenhalgh covers them with finesse and detail. Coco was a self-made success story (to the detriment of her character and relationships) and Igor was a conflicted–and married–genius. I learned a lot about the mystique of Coco Chanel and the creation of her infamous perfume #5. And I also saw a modern-ish glimpse into the world of funding for the arts. This novel spans a relatively short period in the lives of two dynamic and famous people, but the additional timeline at the end, put a lot of things in perspective–namely how a person’s character is an unrelenting barometer of their behavior and how choices made have long-lingering consequences.

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