In Lulu in Marrakech, Diane Johnson brilliantly exposes the manners and morals of the cultural collision between Islam and the West. Lulu Sawyer arrives in Marrakech, Morocco, hoping to rekindle her romance with a worldly Englishman, Ian Drumm. It’s the perfect cover for her assignment for the CIA-tracing the flow of money from well-heeled donors to radical Islamic groups. While spending her days poolside among Europeans in villas staffed by maids in abayas, and her nights at lively dinner parties, Lulu observes the fragile and tense coexistence of two cultures. But beneath the surface of this polite expatriate community lies a sinister world laced not only with double standards, but double agents. As in her previous novels, Diane Johnson weaves a dazzling tale in the great tradition of works about naïve Americans abroad, with a fascinating new assortment of characters as well as witty and timely observations on the political and sexual complexities between Islamic and Western culture.
At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled “quiet,” it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society–from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer. . . . RDuJour would call this simply not being a pushy jerk . . . Thank God there are still enough people like this out there somewhere that Cain could even write such a case study! Visit Amazon.com to Order Now.
RDuJour is well over the moon to hear about this latest project from Condé Nast called Domino Quick Fixes. The fabulous decorating magazine that shuttered back in 2009 is back in a new special edition format. The first issue focuses on easy, often inexpensive changes that make a striking difference – from fast furniture fixes and ways to wake up a wall to more involved DIY projects like a kitchen face-lift or dressing up a home office. Available through July 16, another edition is being planned for Autumn 2012.
Gerald and Sara Murphy were the golden couple of the Lost Generation. Born to wealth and privilege, they fled the stuffy confines of upper-class America to reinvent themselves in France as legendary party givers and enthusiastic participants in the modernist revolution of the 1920s. He became an important painter; she made everyday life a work of art. Their friends F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and John Dos Passos all based fictional characters on the Murphys; Picasso painted them; and Calvin Tomkins rekindled their glamour for a younger generation in his affectionate 1971 portrait, Living Well Is the Best Revenge. Amanda Vaill’s vivid new biography builds on Tomkins’s work to provide a full-length account of the Murphys’ remarkable life together.
As well as good times, that life included suffering endured with great courage. The Murphys’ teenage sons died within two years of each other in the mid-1930s–one suddenly, one after a long battle with tuberculosis–and the Depression forced Gerald to resume the uncongenial work of managing his family’s business. Vaill’s sensitive rendering reveals the moral substance that enabled this stylish couple to survive heartbreak. But it’s her marvelous evocation of those magical expatriate years that lingers in the memory. The wit and imaginative panache with which the Murphys lived sparkles again, recapturing a splendid historical moment. As Sara later said, “It was like a great fair, and everybody was so young.” Visit Amazon.com to purchase now.
Called the “High Priestess of Fashion,” Diana Vreeland (1903–1989) was an American original whose impact on fashion and style was legendary. Beginning in 1936, when she became a fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar, Vreeland established herself as a controversial visionary with an astonishing ability to invent and discover fashion ideas, designers, personalities, and photographers. She was a memorable writer with a vivid personality and a talent for coining aphorisms. Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel chronicles 50 years of international fashion and Vreeland’s rich life. With more than 350 illustrations, including original magazine spreads and many famous photographs, this intensely visual book shows fashion as it was being invented, and how Vreeland shaped American taste through her superb vision. Visit Amazon.com to purchase “Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel” Now.
Judith Schalansky was born in 1980 on the wrong side of the Berlin Wall. The Soviets wouldn’t let anyone travel so everything she learnt about the world came from her parents’ battered old atlas. An acclaimed novelist and award-winning graphic designer, she has spent years creating this, her own imaginative atlas of the world’s loneliest places. These islands are so difficult to reach that until the late 1990s more people had set foot on the moon than on Peter I Island in the Antarctic
On one page are perfect maps, on the other unfold bizarre stories from the history of the islands themselves. Rare animals and strange people abound: from marooned slaves to lonely scientists, lost explorers to confused lighthouse keepers, mutinous sailors to forgotten castaways; a collection of Robinson Crusoes of all kinds. Recently awarded the prize of Germany’s most beautiful book, the ATLAS OF REMOTE ISLANDS is a intricately designed masterpiece that maplovers everywhere will love. Judith Schalansky lures us across all the oceans of the world to fifty remote islands – from St Kilda to Easter Island and from Tristan da Cunha to Disappointment Island – and proves that some of the most memorable journeys can be taken by armchair travellers. Visit Amazon.com to purchase now.
Marlene Dietrich called her ‘The most immoral woman who ever lived’, Cecil Beaton described her as a ‘wicked archangel’ . Born in Alabama in 1903, she became a big star in London in the early 1920’s. Branded ‘an unsafe and unsavory person’ by the Hays commission in the early 1930’s. In this highly entertaining book David Bret tells Tallulah’s story in the only way it could be told: with shocking honesty and wit. What emerges is a vivid portrait of an immoral and wicked woman who was every inch a star and remains one of the greatest legends this century has ever seen. Visit Amazon.com to purchase now.
When Meaulnes first arrives at the local school in Sologne, everyone is captivated by his good looks, daring and charisma. But when Meaulnes disappears for several days, and returns with tales of a strange party at a mysterious house and a beautiful girl hidden within it, he has been changed forever. In his restless search for his Lost Estate and the happiness he found there, Meaulnes, observed by his loyal friend Francois, may risk losing everything he ever had. Poised between youthful admiration and adult resignation, Alain-Fournier’s compelling narrator carries the reader through this evocative and unbearably poignant portrayal of desperate friendship and vanished adolescence. Visit Amazon.com to purchase now.
The mythic Parisian restaurant Maxim’s—owned and operated for the past twenty-five years by iconic designer Pierre Cardin—has hosted patrons from royalty and celebrities to courtesans and starving artists since opening its doors more than a century ago. This captivating illustrated history also includes elegant recipes for classic dishes from the famous “bouchon.” Visit Amazon.com to purchase now.
In 1944, in one of its more inspired moments, the British Ministry of Information dispatched Cecil Beaton– self-dramatizing exquisite, darling of London society, chosen photographer to royalty, and later the world-famous designer of My Fair Lady and Gigi–to the Far East to take pictures of the British Empire and its allies at war. The result was not only a superb collection of photographs but a breathtakingly vivid written portrait of India, Burma, and China at a historic turning-point in their histories. These volumes integrate both elements fully for the first time, offering the complete text of Beaton’s narrative and a truly comprehensive selection of over 200 photographs. Beaton was a great observer and, perhaps unexpectedly, a great describer. In remarkably few words, he can make you see, hear, smell, almost touch the dusty Burmese countryside, the shimmering, casual magnificence of a Bombay virtually untouched by war, or the rain-sodden, flea-bitten front lines in a China nearly destroyed by it. He was an acute observer of people, too, and these books offer revealing glimpses of representative wartime figures from Madame Sun Yat-sen and General Claire Chennault to anonymous British soldiers and Chinese peasants. There is mayhem, including an electrifying description of what it’s like to live through a plane crash, and mordant social comedy that rivals (and explains much of) The Jewel in the Crown. Perhaps best of all are Beaton’s accounts of the two great invariants of modern war–waiting for transport and enduring it–in all their exquisite variety. A magnificent record of some of Beaton’s most austere and disciplined photography and a welcome reminder of his almost forgotten literary gifts, these books offer a uniquely real picture of one of the most heroic episodes of recent history. Pictured above is a vintage copy, you can buy newer editions on Amazon.com.