The Red Leather Diary

Lily Koppel

€ 17,00
Publisher: Cairo Editore
Pages: 336
ISBN/EAN: 9788860521859

For almost a century the red leather diary was buried in a forgotten trunk in a Manhattan basement. A long sleep interrupted only in 2003 when the Upper West Side apartment building was cleared out and this hidden treasure brought to the light.

Chance put it in the hands of Lily Koppel, a New York Times reporter who found densely written pages and a name, Florence Wolfson, behind the rusted lock of the diary. Enchanted by the voice of the unknown young woman, Lily is immerged into the Big Apple of the Thirties when girls from high society met their friends at Schrafft’s, rode horses in Central Park, spent the evening at El Morocco, and danced in the ballrooms of the Hotel Pennsylvania. Who was this adorable ingénue who loved Baudelaire and Jane Austen, who had an avid sexual curiosity, who travelled to Rome, Paris and London? Lily begins a search that takes her as far as Florida where she tracks down Florence, now in her nineties, and who certainly had no hope of recuperating such a precious fragment of her lost youth. This unusual memoir sprang from their meeting. It is an intimate confession, the portrait of a vanished world, a photographic novel.

When she began writing her secret diary, Florence, the daughter of well-off Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, wrote day after day about the five most important years of her life: her first loves, the discovery of sex, her insuppressible desire for autonomy, literature, music, the theatre. An unbridled youth in which her reference points are not her «boring and unhappy» parents, but Greta Garbo, Eva Le Gallienne, Virginia Woolf, Gertrude Stein. Art lessons and excesses, Sapphic and hetero love affairs, cultural and sports circuits, tremendously elegant balls and stressful drafting of literary works. Florence coolly follows her dream of liberty, allowing us, her unexpected readers, to also taste the spirit of an intense life lived intensely.

The author
Lily Koppel, born in 1981, writes for the New York Times and other American newspapers. The Red Leather Diary is her first book. She lives in New York.

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