Flight Portfolio (Orringer)

The Flight Portfolio 
Julie Orringer, 2019
Knopf Doubleday
576 pp.

The long-awaited new work from the best-selling author of The Invisible Bridge takes us back to occupied Europe in this gripping historical novel based on the true story of Varian Fry's extraordinary attempt to save the work, and the lives, of Jewish artists fleeing the Holocaust.

In 1940, Varian Fry—a Harvard educated American journalist—traveled to Marseille carrying three thousand dollars and a list of imperiled artists and writers he hoped to rescue within a few weeks.

Instead, he ended up staying in France for thirteen months, working under the veil of a legitimate relief organization to procure false documents, amass emergency funds, and set up an underground railroad that led over the Pyrenees, into Spain, and finally to Lisbon, where the refugees embarked for safer ports.

Among his many clients were Hannah Arendt, Franz Werfel, André Breton, Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp, and Marc Chagall.

The Flight Portfolio opens at the Chagalls' ancient stone house in Gordes, France, as the novel's hero desperately tries to persuade them of the barbarism and tragedy descending on Europe.

Masterfully crafted, exquisitely written, impossible to put down, this is historical fiction of the very first order, and resounding confirmation of Orringer's gifts as a novelist. (From the publisher.)

Author Bio
Birth—June 12, 1973
Where—Miami, Florida, USA
Education—B.A., Cornell University; M.F.A., University of Iowa; Stegner Fellowship, Stanford University
Awards—Ploughshares Cohen Award; Paris Review’s Plimpton Prize for Fiction
Currently—lives in Brooklyn, New York City, New York

Julie Orringer is a short story writer and author of two higly acclaimed works of historical fiction. Both were bestsellers. The Invisible Bridge was published in 2010, and The Flight Portfolio in 2019.

Orringer is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and Cornell University, and was a Stegner Fellow in the Creative Writing Program at Stanford University. Her stories have appeared in the Paris Review, Yale Review, Ploughshares, Pushcart Prize Anthology, and Zoetrope: All-Story. She lives in Brooklyn, New York City. (From the publisher.)

Book Reviews
(Cover review) Sympathetic and prodigiously ambitious…scrupulous.… Her landscapes regularly rise to a Keatsian sensuousness.  Her Marseille breathes as a city breathes.… [A] thriller.
New York Times Book Review

Orringer is a blue-chip writer with a string of prizes and fellowships and a previous bestseller, The Invisible Bridge. That, too, was a long novel set during World War II, and both books are of the kind invariably reviewed using the same small cachet of words: rich, sweeping, ambitious, heartfelt, exquisite. To her credit, Orringer earns them all. She’s a superb researcher, a natural storyteller and a clear writer. The Flight Portfolio is in a style I think of as high-unimpeachable, difficult but riskless, with only safe little darting flights of flamboyance.
Charles Finch - Newsday

Gorgeous…lush…meticulously researched…classic storytelling through a transgressive lens.… The Flight Portfolio offers a testament to the enduring power of art, and love, in any form.
Entertainment Weekly

(Starred review) Magnificent.… As in 2010's superb The Invisible Bridge, Orringer seamlessly combines compelling inventions with complex fact.… Brilliantly conceived, impeccably crafted, and showcasing Orringer’s extraordinary gifts, this is destined to become a classic.
Publishers Weekly

Orringer is a meticulous researcher, and the novel’s cloak-and-dagger thrills keep the pace lively in this lengthy but intriguing tale of resilience and resistance.

Gripping….Orringer is a beautiful prose stylist who captures depth of meaning about complex human issues, and she addresses head-on the moral dilemma of making value judgments on individual lives…. Vivid.

(Starred review) [E]legant, meditative…. The central point of intrigue, providing a fine plot twist, is also expertly handled, evidence of an accomplished storyteller at work. Altogether satisfying.… [Y]ou’ll have a feel for the territory in which this well-plotted book falls.
Kirkus Reviews

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