Episode 40: Alexander Chee on the Power of the 19th Century Parisian Courtesan

This week we go on a sumptuous and extravagant journey back in time to Second Empire Paris with Alexander Chee. We were lucky enough to record this conversation live at Soho House in New York.  It was the perfect setting to celebrate Alex’s epic novel The Queen of the Night which illuminates the life of legendary Opera soprano Lilliet Berne, from her humble beginnings as an orphan on the American Frontier to her transformation into a dazzling fixture in the court of Emperor Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie, before the fall of the empire. Add to this alluring setting, Lilliet’s time in a circus troupe, her fashion “internship” amidst the hidden tunnels of the Tuileries palace, and, her friendship with the Italian spy Comtesse de Castiglione (also Napoleon’s mistress) and you’ve got a delicious story that unfolds over decades and keeps you gripped till the end.

We hope you love this episode. Do let us know what you think on Twitter @litupshow and Instagram @litupshow.

Thanks for listening!

xo Angie

ALEX

Buy The Queen of the Night at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or at your local independent bookstore.

Alexander Chee is the author of the novels Edinburgh and The Queen of the Night, He is a contributing editor at The New Republic, and an editor at large at VQR. His essays and stories have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Tin House, Slate, Guernica, NPR and Out, among others. He is winner of a 2003 Whiting Award, a 2004 NEA Fellowship in prose and a 2010 MCCA Fellowship. He lives in New York City, where he curates the Dear Reader series at Ace Hotel New York.


Related Posts

Episode 25: Lauren Groff on Sex, Marriage, and Feminism

This week Emily and I were lucky enough to chat with Lauren Groff about her most recent novel Fates and Furies. Just days before, the book was long listed for The National Book Award for Fiction, so of course we needed to celebrate. We apologize […]

Episode 15: Lidia Yuknavitch on the Necessity of Art, Sex and Love

Lidia Yuknavitch was one of the most warm and open guests we’ve had on the podcast and spoke with me about everything from the expansive nature of sex, to potential ways through trauma, to much more. Most recently, she is the author of the fierce and explosive novel, The […]