Author(s): Courtney Maum
CD - unabridged
Audio (8 discs)
Product Number: BN14611
Released: Jul 02, 2019
Business Term: Purchase
ISBN: #9781721354924
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
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Sinuous and striking, heartbreaking and strange, Costalegre is heavily inspired by the real-life relationship between the heiress Peggy Guggenheim and her daughter, Pegeen. Acclaimed author Courtney Maum triumphs with this wildly imaginative and curiously touching story of a privileged teenager who has everything a girl could wish for except for a mother who loves her back. It is 1937, and Europe is on the brink of war. In the haute-bohemian circles of Austria, Germany, and Paris, Hitler is circulating a most-wanted list of "cultural degenerates"?artists, writers, and thinkers whose work is deemed antithetical to the new regime. To prevent the destruction of her favorite art (and artists), the impetuous American heiress and modern art collector, Leonora Calaway, begins chartering boats and planes for an elite group of surrealists to Costalegre, a mysterious resort in the Mexican jungle, where she has a home. The story of what happens to these artists when they reach their destination is told from the point of view of Lara, Leonora's neglected 15-year-old daughter, who has been pulled out of school to follow her mother to Mexico. Forced from a young age to cohabit with her mother's eccentric whims, tortured lovers, and entourage of gold-diggers, Lara suffers from emotional, educational, and geographical instability that a Mexican sojourn with surrealists isn't going to help. But when she meets the outcast Dadaist sculptor Jack Klinger, a much older man who has already been living in Costalegre for some time, Lara thinks she might have found the love and understanding she so badly craves.

Professional reviews

"Frankie Corzo narrates this moving story of a daughter's yearning and estrangement. In 1937, wealthy and capricious Leonora Calaway transports a cadre of reviled artists--"degenerates"--to a remote resort in Mexico to protect them from Hitler's persecution. Bearing witness to this unconventional lifestyle is Lara, Leonora's 15-year-old daughter, who chronicles life in Costalegre in her diary. Sharply observant and reflective, Lara's entries reveal her feelings of displacement and need for connection. While Corzo's light, high voice matches Lara's years, her clipped delivery undercuts the natural intimacy of diary entries, creating subtle conflicts between Lara's words and their performance. At times, the misalignment blunts Lara's inner turmoil, not to mention her humor. Happily, Corzo's efficiency doesn't overshadow the story's tenderness. A.S. © AudioFile 2019, Portland, Maine"

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