In this pivotal time, marked by a proliferation of seemingly tipping-point phenomena, from the hundreds of thousands of women who banded together in protest for an historic Women’s March in cities around the world last January, to the staggering avalanche of voices spurring on the #MeToo & #TimesUp movements, it is now more evident than ever, the critical role women play, and have always played, in leading the resistance against oppressive forces.
This June, timed with Gay Pride Month, Other Press will publish a breakout novel, based on actual events, that traces the clandestine love affair of two revolutionary women, Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore, in the avant-garde scene of 1930s Paris and Jersey. Never Anyone But You: A Novel (Other Press Hardcover; On-sale: June 5th, 2018) by award-winning author RUPERT THOMSON, spins the largely untold story of a love affair between these two pioneering women who smashed gender barriers, while playing an influential role in the Surrealist & Dadaist movements in Paris, eventually risking their lives to create propaganda combating the Nazis. Their revolutionary efforts sparked a movement of resistance still reverberating and mirrored in contemporary culture; and it is undeniable that the wave of change we bear witness to today, is born out of and stands on the shoulders of iconoclastic women like them.
In the years preceding the First World War, two young women meet by chance in a provincial town in France. Suzanne Malherbe, a shy seventeen-year-old with a talent for drawing, is completely entranced by the brilliant but troubled Lucie Schwob. Their connection is instantaneous and electric and they enter into a love affair, terrified they will be discovered. In an astonishing twist of fate, the mother of one marries the father of the other. As sisters, they are finally free of suspicion, and hungry for a more stimulating milieu, they move to Paris where art, literature and politics are coming together in an explosive cocktail that utterly transforms 1930s society. Having recreated themselves as Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore, they are soon moving in the most dynamic social circles, meeting everyone from Hemingway and Dali to Andre Breton, and producing groundbreaking art in the fields of photography and literature. However, with the rise of anti-Semitism and fascist ideology, they leave Paris for Jersey, and it is on this idyllic island that they confront their destiny, employing their artistic skills and resourcefulness to shape a propaganda campaign against Hitler’s occupation that will put their very existence in jeopardy.
Powered by Thomson’s natural gift for storytelling, this brilliantly imagined novelization of the life of Claude Cahun, known to many as a cult figure in the gay community, and Marcel Moore, breathes life and expands the understanding of the personal and historical moment of which they were apart. Profound and ultimately heart-breaking, NEVER ANYONE BUT YOU raises critical questions about the tension between art and political activism and will serve as a compelling introduction to the deep and abiding love story of two enduring female heroines.
RUPERT THOMSON is the author of nine highly acclaimed novels, including Katherine Carlyle; Secrecy; The Insult, which was shortlisted for the Guardian Fiction Prize and selected by David Bowie as one of his 100 Must-Read Books of All Time; The Book of Revelation, which was made into a feature film by Ana Kokkinos; and Death of a Murderer, which was short-listed for the Costa Novel of the Year Award. His memoir, This Party’s Got to Stop, was named Writers’ Guild Non-Fiction Book of the Year. Never Anyone But You is his latest novel. He lives in London.
Certain books were “banned in Boston” at least as far back as 1651, when one William Pynchon wrote a book criticizing Puritanism.