A hilarious, tragic novel about a would-be movie star in 1920s Berlin, from the author of Child of All Nations
Doris is going to be a big star. Wearing a stolen fur coat and recently fired from her office job, she takes an all-night train to Berlin to make it in the movies. But what she encounters in the city is not fame and fortune, but gnawing hunger, seedy bars, and exploitative men - and as Doris sinks ever lower, she resorts to desperate measures to survive. Very funny and intensely moving, this is a dazzling portrait of roaring Berlin in the 1920s, and a poignant exploration of the doomed pursuit of fame and glamour.
The Artificial Silk Girl was a huge bestseller in Weimar Germany before the Nazis banned it, and is today Keun's best-loved book in Germany. Funny, fresh and radical in its dissection of the limited options available to working women, it is a novel that speaks to our times.
Just now I want to tell everyone about Irmgard Keun ... A great writer
Keun has few rivals - I can think of none - as a chronicler of the ambience or the consequences of the rise of Nazism
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
Damned by the Nazis, hailed by the feminists ... a truly charming window into a young woman's life in the early 1930s
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