I am still catching up on reviews. Reading and reviewing seem to be in constant competition for my spare time at the moment, except of course reading mostly wins.
Anyway, this little book was one I would never have heard of if it had not been a review here on Booklikes by Couscous. A few weeks later I noticed the book at an airport.
So, much for "amateur" reviews not being of any value to the book industry. Ha!
I have read the German edition of the book, but it has been published in English as I am my own wife.
It's a slightly peculiar title. It's a book that is kinda hard to describe, too.
The Amazon blurb tries to sell it as follows:
"A soft-spoken transvestite wanting nothing more than to live as a hausfrau, Charlotte von Mahlsdorf instead was caught uo in the most harrowing dramas of 20th century Europe, surviving both the Nazis and the Communists. This is her exquisitely written biography where she reveals her lifelong pursuit of sexual liberty. With the success of a new play about Charlotte, hailed by The New York Times as the 'most stirring new work to appear on Broadway this fall', her story is reaching an entirely new readership of enthusiastic theatre fans."
It is a somewhat inaccurate description as the book is not so much about her pursuit of sexual liberty as about her pursuit of preservation - be it the preservation of antique furniture, art, or memories.
It is a fascinating read in that Charlotte lived through an era which could not have been any less tolerant, and indeed has more than once been close to death simply for being herself. Yet, astonishingly, her story isn't about injustice and cruelty. A lot of the memories she tries to preserve are about defiance and kindness.
It's an interesting book, by someone who seems to have been an interesting person.