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The Truth About Lou

A Novel After Salomé

List Price: $14.95

December 11, 2008 | Paperback | 6 x 9, 304 Pages | ISBN 9781582434353
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“This is an alternative history, and also an alternative fiction, told with style, bravura, grace, depth and power.” —Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin

From the shadows of the correspondences and the stark contrasts of biographical portraits, the elusive Salomé emerges in these pages to tell her own story through the three major relationships of her life: at twenty-one she meets the smitten and ultimately spurned philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche; at thirty-six she takes the fledgling poet Rainer Maria Rilke as her first lover; and at fifty she wins the deep affection of Sigmund Freud.

Who was she really, Lou Salomé? Willful conniving girl, controlling femme fatale or nurturing literary muse? Drawing on neglected historical sources and deftly weaving in the present-day character of writer Anna Kane, in pursuit of the truth about Lou, von der Lippe layers what is known and what is forgotten about Salomé with what can only be imagined. She unfolds a poignant story of love’s losses, life’s work and redemption.

From its beginnings in Imperial Russia to its menacing end in Nazi Germany, Salomé’s story offers a feast of historical drama, captured here in a multi-dimensional flesh and blood portrait of who Salomé actually was.

ANGELA VON DER LIPPE has a doctorate in German literature from Brown University, and is the editor and translator of You Alone Are Real to Me by Lou Andreas-Salomé. A senior editor at W.W. Norton, she lives in New York City.

Praise

“The truth is often best told from the undusted corners. Angela Von der Lippe manages to dignify the process of fiction, while also bringing forth a cast of history’s best characters. This is an alternative history, and also an alternative fiction, told with style, bravura, grace, depth and power.” —Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin

“Only someone profoundly gifted both as a novelist and as a literary critic could have given us this persuasive narrative, The Truth About Lou. Angela von der Lippe makes plausible Lou Andreas-Salomé’s varied fascinations for Nietzsche, Rilke, and Freud. Yet this eloquent and uncannily perceptive novel does even more than that. It evokes, with vivid force, the cultural world forever destroyed by Hitler.” —Harold Bloom, American literary critic

“Von der Lippe animates a woman who is beguiling and bold and whose intellect and social attitudes were far in advance of her time.” —Library Journal

“Angela von der Lippe slips out secrets with dramatic splendor in a fascinating and major narrative. Lou will live.” —Willis Barnstone, author of the Gnostic Bible

“An intelligent and moving evocation of an extraordinary woman’s life. Von der Lippe subtly marries the ‘real’ with the imaginary in a gripping recreation of the woman who was the turn of the 19th century’s thinking ‘femme fatale’.” —Lisa Appignanesi, author of Mad, Bad and Sad: Women and the Mind Doctors

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