Jewelry Talks by Richard Klein
A Novel Thesis

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Campy, bitchy, outrageous, and quite a bit more than over the top, Abby Zinzo describes himself as “a cross between Auntie Mame and Louis the Sun King.” Abby has lived a life dedicated to pleasure, and nothing has given him more pleasure than owning, wearing, or merely contemplating the lustrous objects with which women and men have always adorned themselves.

In this sexy, funny book that is part novel and part thesis on jewelry, Abby sits down to record everything he has learned over a lifetime, planning to leave this story along with his collection of valuable stones to his beloved niece, Zeem. He recounts the history of famous gems–like the fabulous Koh-i-Noor and the brilliant blue Hope diamond–and regales us with naughty tales of the women who made the beautiful jewelry their own, including Coco Chanel, the Duchess of Windsor, and Elizabeth Taylor. He also narrates his own sensational life, from Harvard undergraduate to dancer in a notorious Paris drag cabaret to his twilight as a man for whom gender is just another glittering ornament. Sharp, fascinating, and sparkling with its own inner fire, Jewelry Talks is precious gem in and of itself.

About Richard Klein

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Richard Klein is the author of Eat Fat (available in paperback from Vintage Books) and Cigarettes Are Sublime. He is a professor of French at Cornell University and lives in Ithaca, New York.
Published February 15, 2012 by Vintage. 242 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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“I am my jewelry,” declares Zinzo at one point, while elsewhere (amid his many admonitions to Zeem about femininity, poise, dress, manner, etc.) he explains that “I’ve assumed the project of wearing jewelry like a woman because it strikes me as the highest form of prayer.” What could he mean?

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Publishers Weekly

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At Harvard, Abby started a thesis about Diderot's famous pornographic classic, Les Bijoux indiscrets—which can be translated as The Talking Jewels.

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