A riveting and prismatic novel of the eternally enigmatic Coco Chanel in the aftermath of World War II.
Her name is still synonysmous with elegance and chic, it is hard to fathom that the iconic Coco Chanel was arrested and interrogated. But that is exactly what happened in late August, 1944.
Though much is lost ot history, or Chanel's own obstrufication, this much is true: one morning two soldiers from the French Forces of the Interior—the loose band of Resistance fighters, soldiers and private citizens who took up arms in the wake of the Liberation of Paris—led Chanel from her suite at the Ritz Hotel in Paris to an undisclosed location for questioning.
What transpired during her interrogation, who was present, and why she was set free when so many other women who’d been involved with German men (willingly or otherwise) had their heads shaved or were imprisoned, remains a mystery.
In this brilliantIy insightful and compulsively readable novel from the author of I am Madam X, Gioia Diliberto explores the motivations of this complex woman. Was Chanel truly a collaborator?
The Occupation of France offered a stark contrast between good and evil, yet few people are wholly heroes or villains in wartime. Most citizens, as the writer André Gide noted, were like old shoes floating in murky waters: battered and torn, riding the turbulent flow, just trying to survive.
By turns raw and vulnerable, steely and flawed, the Chanel emerges from these pages as a woman who owns her decisions, no matter the consequences. Rich with history and filled with emotional truths, Coco at the Ritz is a story about the choices one woman made when the stakes were the highest. In today’s world, Coco at the Ritz is a cautionary tale about the necessity of standing against evil when it stares you in the face.
Gioia Dilibertohas written biographies of Jane Addams, Hadley Hemingway, and Brenda Frazier, as well as the critically acclaimed novels I Am Madame X and The Collection. She lives in the Hudson Valley with her family.