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Book review: City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

Gosh, I had a great time listening to City of Girls on audiobook. Elizabeth Gilbert’s novel follows the story of Vivian Morris as she discovers a glittering, exciting post-World War I New York.

It is a New York of theatre-types, of showgirls, of nightclubs and of hedonism. Vivian is given the role of creating costumes for the shows at her Aunty’s Lily Playhouse, a theatre of ageing splendour.

She befriends the showgirl staying with her Aunty, along with a motley crew of theatre people.

In New York, her life is far removed from the well-mannered monotony of her life with her parents and strait-laced brother.

However, it is in New York that Vivian stands too close to the fire, burning herself and leading to her banishment back home.

Finally, she is summoned back to resume her life in the big city, as a wiser and warier woman, but just as enthusiastic – and now unashamedly so – about the pleasures of the flesh.

This book was a joy to listen to, and I will miss Vivian’s direct and addictive storytelling. And although I was never there, it made me miss Vivian’s New York of the early 1940s. I only hope that it is adapted for the screen, because City of Girls would make one gorgeous movie.

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