Never Anyone But You by Rupert Thomson

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Thomson has created a taut, magnificently controlled novel about creativity and personal survival that is a lucid reflection of the period it describes, as the surface of a surrealist picture is lucid.
-Guardian

Synopsis

The true story of a love affair between two extraordinary women becomes a literary tour deforce in this novel that recreates the surrealist movement in Paris and the horrors of the two world wars with a singular incandescence and intimacy.

In the years preceding World War I, two young women meet, by chance, in a provincial town in France. Suzanne Malherbe, a shy seventeen-year-old with a talent for drawing, is completely entranced by the brilliant but troubled Lucie Schwob, who comes from a family of wealthy Jewish intellectuals. They embark on a clandestine love affair, terrified they will be discovered, but then, in an astonishing twist of fate, the mother of one marries the father of the other. As “sisters” they are finally free of suspicion, and, hungry for a more stimulating milieu, they move to Paris at a moment when art, literature, and politics blend in an explosive cocktail.

Having reinvented themselves as Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore, they move in the most glamorous social circles, meeting everyone from Hemingway and Dalí to André Breton, and produce provocative photographs that still seem avant-garde today. In the 1930s, with the rise of anti-Semitism and threat of fascism, they leave Paris for Jersey, and it is on this idyllic island that they confront their destiny, creating a campaign of propaganda against Hitler’s occupying forces that will put their lives in jeopardy.

Brilliantly imagined, profoundly thought-provoking, and ultimately heartbreaking, Never Anyone But You infuses life into a forgotten history as only great literature can.
 

About Rupert Thomson

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Published June 5, 2018 by Other Press. 368 pages
Genres: History, Romance, Literature & Fiction, Gay & Lesbian. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Never Anyone But You
All: 3 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 0

Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by Malcolm Forbes on Jun 28 2018

One of the reasons they come so thrillingly alive on the page is because he successfully portrays them in many different guises — as artists, socialites, iconoclasts and resistance fighters. In each case he gets under their skin and into their minds.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Elizabeth Lowry on Jun 15 2018

Thomson has created a taut, magnificently controlled novel about creativity and personal survival that is a lucid reflection of the period it describes, as the surface of a surrealist picture is lucid.

Read Full Review of Never Anyone But You | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Miranda Seymour on May 27 2018

As with all of Thomson’s elegant and troubling novels, Never Anyone But You exerts a menacing – but never histrionic – power. Like the revenant ghost that Cahun eventually becomes to Moore, this quietly passionate coupling of Eros and history lingers on to haunt the darkest recesses of the reader’s mind.

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