[Delayed Rays of a Star] EBOOK DOWNLOAD
In 1928 a photograph was taken of Anna May Wong Marlene Dietrich and Leni Riefenstahl at a party at Weimar Berlin Amanda Lee Koe ses this photograph as the basis for her debut novel Delayed Rays of a Star In the novel we follow the lives of these three women over the course of the 20th century I have read Dietrich s biography and Riefenstahl s autobiography and never have I read a novel that ses real people so authentically Each character main to minor glows It is a book about sexism art racism and conseuences Our smallest actions lead to large outcomes when we cannot yet know it Amanda Lee Koe is a master storyteller This is her epic Everything became a fantastic joke if you could afford to hang around long enough for the punchline Listening to the Smith s strangeways here we come in honor of my two favorite characters Ibrahim and B b From netgalley for an honest review Before reviewing Amanda Lee Koe s actual writing it must be noted that the Doubleday hardcover edition of Delayed Rays Of A Star is physically a work of art in bookmaking The dust jacket features some beautiful design work by a Michael J Windsor that perfectly incorporates design aesthetics of the classical Hollywood era and contem this is a modern masterpiece pls run not walk to get your copy it is about three film icons dietrich wong and liefenstahl but I think the true gems in this book are the nknown stories of the supporting cast whose lives are marked by the three stars the prose is dense but never clunky This is an intricate and intelligent novel definitely the best one I ve read this year Five stars for the impressive execution of this ambitious epic novel and for the excellent beautiful writing But I docked a star based on my personal reading experience it s Marie Antoinette uite a heavy and dense read such that sometimes I had trouble getting back into the story after putting it down for a while I also don t really like stories that removeotation marks from the dialogue because it can get hard to differentiate dialogue from normal narration and I just don t get the purpose Is it just a fancy and The Amazing Story of Quantum Mechanics uirky stylistic choiceThe novel opens in the 1920s at a party in Berlin where three actresses Anna May Wong Marlene Dietrich and Leni Riefenstahl met for the first time and pose for a photograph together Yup the novel is a historical fiction with real life famous people as its characters There s even the two photographs of the three women taken at the party inserted into the book The reader then follows the three women s lives in the subseuent decades as they advance their acting and also for Leni directing careers against the chaotic rise and fall of the Nazi regime The story is divided into three major segments which are individually splitp into three mini segments each taking turns to focus on one of the women Within each mini segment are a number of chapters that really feel like short stories because of the way they jump to whole new situations and often even a different character as the chapter s focus
THERE ARE LOTS OF SIDE CHARACTERS SUCH AS MARLENE are lots of side characters such as Marlene Chinese maid and the lighting staff on Leni s film production team and they are vividly developed too I actually think some
"of the most memorable chapters come from the side charactersAnna May Marlene and Leni turn into strong memorable characters "the most memorable chapters come from the side charactersAnna May Marlene and Leni turn into strong memorable characters I knew pretty much nothing about all of them I ll admit it I d never even heard of Marlene and Leni before this novel so getting to know their lives and legacy was fascinating to me I restrained myself from googling them so I can get to know them from this novel but after finishing it I did google them and I m intrigued to see how closely the novel follows their real lives However I was expecting connections between the three of them and their stories but only Anna May and Marlene were really in each other s lives after they met at the party So it felt disjointed reading the three women s chapters together They shared a common socio political context and themes about art being a female artist and fame but still I had to re orientate myself a bit when I move between the mini segmentsLeni s chapters were also the heaviest and the tone was ite different from Anna May s and Marlene s although Anna May s also dealt with in early 20th century America and the struggle to find home for the Asian American diaspora Leni s chapters are very heavy because they go ite deep into the political climate of Nazi Germany with Hitler and Joseph Goebbels both making appearances and even getting dialogue Leni was also a controversial director of Nazi propaganda films and this novel explores how aware and intentional she was in creating Nazi propaganda raising Beyond Band of Brothers uestions about whether we can and should separate art from politics and art from the artist It s very bold of the author to tackle such controversial and complex issues in real history approaching them from different perspectives and she has the skill and is knowledgeable about them to do so with sensitivity Even though the writing is a bit dense I was very engaged in the story most of the time and I really cared and felt for the charactersAmanda Lee Koe is definitely one of my favourite Singapore authors now along with Balli Kaur Jaswal I d only ever read one of her short stories from her award winning collection Ministry of Moral Panic but I could tell her writing is really good and this her first novel shows it even She s so smart I d fee. A dazzling novel following the lives of three groundbreaking women Marlene Dietrich Anna May Wong and Leni Riefenstahl cinema legends who litp the twentieth centuryAt a chance encounter at a Berlin soirée in 1928 the photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt captures three very different women together in one frame p and coming German actress Marlene Dietrich who would wend her way into Hollywood as one of its lasting icons; Anna May Wong the world's first Chinese American star playing for bit parts while dreaming of breaking away from her fat. L intimidated if I ever meet her in real lifeThank you to Pansing for sending me copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review Men would mouth off without thinking twice about who they were crossing Never having to fight for anything made them complacent and impulsiveI have been trying to articulate why I love this book for the past 5 months now and I don t think I still can do it Because Delayed Rays Of A Star is one of those one of a kind beautifully written books that shatter every standard you ve set for a book to be good and makes you go oh wow I love this in a way like I ve never loved any other bookSo what is Delayed Rays Of A Star about Delayed Rays Of A Star is part historical fiction and part biographical narrative of 3 well known women during the world war 2 era namely Marlene Dietrich actress diva and femme fatale one of the highest paid Hollywood actress of her time Anna May Wong the first Chinese American actress and Leni Riefenstahl one of the first female filmmakers famously infamous for the nazi propaganda films she made for HitlerAnd all of this begins with a picture A picture in which all three women were seen together at a party before their paths diverged in their different life trajectories and interweaved along the wayMarlene do you identify as German or AmericanAt the best of times Marlene said categorical limitations should be difficult to determine in nationality as in gender Why please should a table be male in German female in French and castrated in EnglishMarlene was a force to be reckoned with a woman who got her way sing her charm humor The Year of Living Biblically uick wit and confidence oh and her sexuality A woman who did not restrict herself in any way in her professional career as well as her personal life but always remaining the icon that everyone around her revered in awe And Amanda Lee Koe manages to extract Marlene s personality and character so skillfully through her writing that now I am also among the countless men and women who wereare infatuated with herby their very nature decisions tended towards narrowing life s possibilities but Marlene had a knack for making decisions that opened rather than closed shrugging labels off like they were fleasAnna May Wong was the daughter of a laundry man who aspired to be the heroine in movies but hollywood had other plans for her As a Chinese American she was always cast as the villain who dies or the side character who dies so the hero cannit Amanda Lee Koe s inspiration for this ambitious novel was a single photograph taken by famed photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt at a party in Berlin in 1928 The picture is of filmmakeractress Leni Riefenstahl Hollywood actress Anna May Wong and Marlene Dietrich Koe takes s to this party and ses that as her jumping off point for stories that read like memoirs from each woman s point of viewTo get into the head of each woman is fascinating Anna May Wong growing p in Los Angeles was enthralled with the movies While she became a successful actress Hollywood cast her in villain roles while sympathetic Asian characters were played by Caucasians in whiteface Wong had to deal with that as well as scathing reviews from critics in her parents native ChinaDietrich s story is focused two BOOKENDS OF HER LIFE HER EARLY DAYS WORKING WITH her life her early days working with von Sternberg and having an affair with Wong and the last years her life when she was bedridden and reclusive in a Paris flat I don t know if there s any factual basis for the affair Dietrich is portrayed as a women who yearned for connection but couldn t let down her barriers enough to form a real relationship with anyoneRiefenstahl is portrayed both in her filmmaking years in Germany s Third Reich and much later in life looking back and defending herself against charges of collaboration with the Nazi regime Koe does a terrific job getting inside the head of the ambitious and self absorbed Riefenstahl who has an excuse or justification for everything She never has to admit her culpability even to herselfSome of the most affecting scenes involve side characters whom Koe introduces into the story There is the World War I veteran working as a gaffer on one of Riefenstahl s who is haunted by his wartime memories and stricken by Riefenstahl s se of Roma from a nearby Nazi concentration camp as film extras Then there is Dietrich s refugee Chinese house cleaner B b who develops a relationship with a young Turkish German admirer of Dietrich sIt s hard to describe this novel It has a certain dreamlike For the Love of All Thats Holy, Dont Buy a Boat When Venus is in Retrograde uality but not because it feels like a dream It s as if you have all the time in the world to sit with these women as they tell you the stories of their lives and you know that because they are human there will be truth lies happiness sadness and the bittersweetness of memory Genre Historical FictionPublisher Doubleday BooksPublication Date July 9 2019Spanning the 1920s to 2003 this sprawling novel is expertly woven with characters that are powerfully alive Koe s novel was inspired by a 1928 photograph taken in Berlin of thenp and coming real life actresses Marlene Dietrich Anna May Wong and Leni Riefenstahl at a party in Berlin For those who don t know these film icons Marlene Dietrich was a gender bending German actress who was one of the highest paid Hollywood stars "IN HER DAY ANNA MAY WONG "her day Anna May Wong the first Chinese American actress to achieve international acclaim Leni Riefenstahl was an actress turned director of Nazi propaganda. Her's modest laundry; and Leni Riefenstahl whose work as a director would first make her famous then infamous From this curious point of intersection DELAYED RAYS OF A STAR lets loose the trajectories of these women's lives From Weimar Berlin to LA's Chinatown from a seaside resort in East Germany to a luxury apartment on the Champs Elysées the different settings they inhabit are as richly textured as the roles they play siren muse predator or lover each one a carefully calibrated performance And in the orbit of each star live .
review Delayed Rays of a Star.
Films as well as nonpolitical filmsThere are two moving secondary characters in the novel There is a Chinese maid who was a onetime sex trafficked prostitute She now takes care of an old and difficult reclusive woman who happens to be Marlene Dietrich And there is a gay German soldier who had worked in films before the war He was recruited off the battlefield to be a film crew member with Riefenstahl He is mourning the lover he watched die in battle Through his character one gets glimpses of the average young German soldier s thoughts during the war Not at all different than from those they were fighting Please God let me live through this warWhy am I crawling in the mud when the bigwigs that started the war are safely sitting at home Both characters are written in a way that will break your heart without being saccharineThe ambiguous novel takes on many subjectsThere is sexuality Marlene Dietrich s public image included openly defying sexual norms She was known for her androgynous dressing fashion sense Dietrich was the Hollywood legend who made being Scary Stories 3 ueer acceptable even downright sexy Men and women both drooled over her and she famously bedded both How she got away with this in that period of time isite a feat Perhaps it was her narcissist personality traits that helped her pull it off Still while America adored her Germany was angry and disowned her Marlene remained Marlene The Penguin Atlas of Endangered Species until the end of her life The author writes a scene of her maid holding her nose while cleaning an antiue Limoges pitcher the 88 year oldses as a bedpan In her famous throaty voice she hollers at the maid Everyone should be glad I can still pee For her funeral she reuested that red and white carnations be distributed to those who attended A red carnation would be handed to those who slept with Dietrich and a white one to those who didn t She fantasized fistfights over You slept with her and I didn t These laugh out loud moments are written to perfection This reviewer googled an interview with Marlene s daughter and learned that this was indeed her mother s funeral wish Her mom would have been very disappointed if she knew it wasn t carried outThere is racism Despite being born in California and the daughter of parents who were themselves born here Wong was only offered badevil woman Chinese character roles She was never a lead character The Chinese were as furious with her as the Germans were of Dietrich A moving scene in the book happens when she is in China for a publicity tour Wong is criticized by a film critic for taking stereotypical roles She tries to explain that as a non white in America life can be hard She fiercely fought for different roles She desperately wanted the lead role in the film The Good Earth The movie takes place in turn of the century China She thought she had it She was deep into preparation giving ideas and costume suggestions when she received a phone call informing her that the role went to a white actress The reason She was too ChineseThere is sexism Leni Riefenstahl was an accomplished filmmaker one of the first of female filmmakers of her generation Still she is easy not to like She received financial support from Hitler but after the fall of the Nazi regime
"Claimed No Knowledge Of The "no knowledge of the Koe paints her as willfully nknowing Leni is written in a "Way That One Can Almost Understand Where She Is Coming "that one can almost nderstand where she is coming Since she was a woman no one Was Willing To Take willing to take seriously as a director and back her films She took money where she could and concentrated on her art Like Anna May she was forced to take whatever she got in order to perform In 1993 there was a documentary made about her The Wonderful Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl Maybe this is why she is the only one of the three who gets an entire section in her own voiceKoe s debut novel shows that she is a master storyteller Clearly her talent comes from being a fellow of the International Writing Program of Iowa and a fiction editor of Esuire Singapore as well as the editor of the National Museum of Singapore s film journal Delayed will appeal to a wide variety of readers Fans of historical fiction centering on women film buffs gossipy stories and those who enjoy WWII political novels that feel like nonfiction in other words for fans of all genresFind all my book reviews at An amazing read It was wonderful Tono Bungay uite heavy for me A historical and biographical fiction Touches on the inner workings of movie making and the mixing of reality and fantasy There were many themes I liked the fight for control the changing relationships and the way each character saw each other I had difficult time getting through this book because it kind of heavy to m Delayed Rays of a Star begins and ends with a photograph of three actresses at a party in Berlin in 1928 Marlene Dietrich Anna May Wong and Leni Riefenstahl Ambitious in its scope and its attempt to render these famous personalities of the early 20th century into relatable and flawed humans the novel moves back and forth between these three characters as they each make their marks as independent women in a male dominated film industry and also wrestle with their respective demons Dietrich being labeled a traitor for renouncing her German citizenship to go to Hollywood during WWII Wong s predicament of being offered only roles that were stereotypes of Asian women yet also being deemed too Chinese to play a Chinese I can t believe how much I loved this book. Econdary players a Chinese immigrant housemaid a German soldier on leave from North Africa a pompous Hollywood director whose voices and viewpoints reveal the legacy each woman left in her own time as well as in ours Amanda Lee Koe's playful wry prose guides the reader dexterously around murkyestions of ego persona complicity desire and difference Intimate and raw DELAYED RAYS OF A STAR is a visceral depiction of womanhood its particular hungers its calculations and its eventual betrayals and announces a bold new literary voice.