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.