MANOUCHE: Her Life and Times by Roger Peyrefitte

MANOUCHE: Her Life and Times

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In the current vogue of French nostalgia-guilt for the Occupation, Germaine Germain -- monstre sacre, chanteuse, mistress, moll -- offers her memoirs. In the '30's she managed to insinuate herself into the circles of such notables as Mistinguette (her ""godmother""), ""Monsieur Alexandre"" (the Getty of his time), Chevalier, Piaf, and Cocteau. But the all time love of her life was her paramour, the notorious Corsican gangster Carbone. Manouche dances irreverently in the Parisian underworld and night life, seeking sex and thrills, oblivious to Nazi realities and resistance (except insofar as they affect her celebrity-studded world). Her acquiescence in black marketeering, prostitution, high crime, and collaboration is both intriguing and repelling -- and one is seduced by her earthy innocence in spite of one's self. Peyrefitte and Flores capture her charm in simple, childlike prose. Bombings, arrests, and murders contrast to Manouche's ingenuousness in a sympathetic stow of one who declares, ""Survival. . .in the end that's all that counts.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1974
Publisher: Grove Press -- dist. by Random House