Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Luxe: Tabloid tales with a late-19th-century twist

luxe cover

Tabloid tales with a late-19th-century twist


February 23, 2008

Picture Manhattan high society in the late 1890s: a decadent world in which privileged young women fill their evenings with wild parties and their days with shopping, all the while attracting the attention of a gossip-hungry press.

Okay, so not much has changed for the Hilton sisters. Apart from the fake tans and unashamed pantylessness, the inimitable Paris and Nicky would be right at home in the pages of The Luxe (Harper Teen), a young-adult novel by American author Anna Godbersen. The teen bodice ripper is an international hit, published in 11 countries with fat sequels to follow.

Its success is easy to understand. The Luxe is exactly my sort of trash: a compelling melodrama that demands nothing but basic literacy and opposable thumbs on the part of its reader. And it is timely - not just because of the recent explosion in the young-adult fiction market, but for the way it exposes the bad behaviour of idle adolescents who have little else to do in life but keep themselves out of scandal, yet somehow manage to do just the opposite.

"The Victorians didn't have celebrities in the sense that we do now. It was all about watching the rich," Godbersen, who is just 27 herself, says during a phone interview from her home in Brooklyn. "Cultural commentators talk about our time as the new Gilded Age. And that's because there's still this divide between the rich and the rest of us."

Continues at link...

Will this give Jilly Cooper new competition?

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