The Artificial Silk Girl

The Artificial Silk Girl

Book - 2002
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Doris, a young German woman, tries to build a career as an actress in 1930s Berlin.
Publisher: New York : Other Press, [2002]
Copyright Date: ©2002
ISBN: 9781590514542
Branch Call Number: FICTION KEUN...I
Characteristics: xxi, 194 pages ; 20 cm
Additional Contributors: Ankum, Katharina von


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Manateestarz Jun 27, 2016

Who knew that social climbing in Weimar Germany could be so funny. Doris is a flighty, determined and wry narrator who is trying (and failing) to sleep her way to the top.

She has many hilarious descriptions as she shares her view of everyday people in Berlin just as the Nazis are gaining prominence. Just so that you get an idea of the tone of the book ,it is important to note that one of the main characters in this novel is Doris's fur coat, with whom she has a loving relationship.

It is imperative that you read the introduction and preface also to understand the background of the book. The preface does leave out the fact that Keun, a Jewish writer, enacted an audacious plan to evade capture by the Nazis. She spread rumors of her own suicide and hid in plain sight for several years in Berlin.

Before she became a fearless survivor she was the writer of an enjoyable and sharply observant novel.

melwyk Apr 27, 2012

I enjoyed this for many reasons. One reason is simply its construction: it is putatively Doris' diary, and while it isn't made up of dated 'Dear Diary' entries, it has the honest tone that comes from writing for oneself, with all the foibles of others as well as the self set down.

Doris has an edge of desperation, experiences real danger, and lives in an early 1930s German society that doesn't support the attainment of her dreams. Keun's sense of the society she is writing within and about is very strong, and the light tone of Doris' words is often belayed by the serious sense of what she is relaying (ie: meeting with Nazis). Keun is a great discovery and provided a bracing reading experience.

Full review at Indextrious Reader


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melwyk Apr 27, 2012

"I continue to write because my hand wants something to do and my notebook with its white lined pages has a kind of readiness to receive my thoughts and my tiredness and to be a bed that my letters can lie in. That way at least part of me has a place to lie down."


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