Delayed Rays of a Star by Amanda Lee Koe

Delayed Rays of a Star

A dazzling novel following the lives of three groundbreaking women--Marlene Dietrich, Anna May Wong, and Leni Riefenstahl--cinema legends who lit up the twentieth centuryAt a chance encounter at a Berlin soirée in 1928, the photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt captures three very different women together in one frame: up-and-coming German actress Marlene Dietrich, who would wend her way into Hollywood as one of its lasting icons; Anna May Wong, the w...

Details Delayed Rays of a Star

TitleDelayed Rays of a Star
Release DateJul 9th, 2019
PublisherNan A. Talese
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction

Reviews Delayed Rays of a Star

  • Martie Nees Record
    Genre: Historical FictionPublisher: Doubleday BooksPublication Date: July 9, 2019Spanning the 1920s to 2003, this sprawling novel is expertly woven with characters that are powerfully alive. Koe’s novel was inspired by a 1928 photograph taken in Berlin of then up and coming real-life actresses, Marlene Dietrich, Anna May Wong, and Leni Riefenstahl, at a party in Berlin. For those who don't know these film icons, Marlene Dietrich was a gender-be...
  • Xueting
    Five stars for the impressive execution of this ambitious, epic novel and for the excellent, beautiful writing. But I docked a star based on my personal reading experience - it's quite a heavy and dense read, such that sometimes I had trouble getting back into the story after putting it down for a while. I also don't really like stories that remove quotation marks from the dialogue because it can get hard to differentiate dialogue from normal nar...
  • Jessica T.
    In 1928, a photograph was taken of Anna May Wong, Marlene Dietrich, and Leni Riefenstahl, at a party at Weimar, Berlin. Amanda Lee Koe uses this photograph as the basis for her debut novel Delayed Rays of a Star. In the novel we follow the lives of these three women over the course of the 20th century.. I have read Dietrich’s biography and Riefenstahl’s autobiography and never have I read a novel that uses real people so authentically. Each c...
  • Maine Colonial
    Amanda Lee Koe’s inspiration for this ambitious novel was a single photograph, taken by famed photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt at a party in Berlin in 1928. The picture is of filmmaker/actress Leni Riefenstahl, Hollywood actress Anna May Wong, and Marlene Dietrich. Koe takes us to this party and uses that as her jumping-off point for stories that read like memoirs from each woman’s point of view.To get into the head of each woman is fascinatin...
  • Cindy
    When I first picked up this book I expected a light read; it is not! I also found this book a bit hard to get into; it felt a touch discombobulated at the beginning and I even though I lost a interest before the end I would still recommend it as the subject matter is well tackled and worth reading. One of the main characters is a fairly famous German during WWII and she disturbingly depicts the indifference to what was going on in the concentrati...
  • Jacob Wren
    I can't believe how much I loved this book.
  • Kit Lea
    full fledged article-review to come for yale's brink review of books
  • Christine
    Delayed Rays of a Star presents the story of three actresses captured in one photo in Berlin, prior to WW2. Anna May Wong, a Chinese American actress in Europe looking for more prominent roles not available to her in Hollywood, Leni Riefenstahl, a German actress who would become Hilter's director of his propaganda films, and Marlene Dietrich, German actress and Hollywood legend.I was very excited to read this book; and the portrayals of the three...
  • Chitra Ahanthem
    This is historical fiction at its best with a real life photo of the enigmatic star Marlene Dietrich, the exotic Anna May Wong and an almost haughty Leni Riefenstahl taken at a party in Berlin in 1928 being the opening. The book follows the three pioneering divas: Marlene, a star who refused to be boxed in any category in terms of her sexual choices or her professional career choices; Anna Wong who is expected to play just two stereotypical Chine...
  • Aaron
    Disclaimer: I won this book in a Doubleday giveaway on Instagram.An incredible first novel from Koe that delves into the lives of three women who were integral in film in the 20s and 30s and that's putting it mildly. This is definitely historical fiction, but Koe writes in such a way as to make believe you're seeing their lives from the 'fly on the wall' perspective, creating unilateral 'interviews' to interpret their views, their failures, their...
  • Karolina
    I've hesitated for a long time - should I give it four stars? three? Let's assume it's 3.5.I really like Amanda's writing, although I feel that the best parts were fictional. I get the idea behind the book, but the three main characters just started to tire me down after about 200 pages. Usually I'm all up for experiments, jumping through time and mixing up threads, but somehow the result in "Delayed Rays of Star" seemed really chaotic at times. ...
  • Patricia
    Stellar debut novel. Koe is an author to follow. Sumptuous prose. Historical fiction about Marlene Dietrich, Anna May Wong and Leno Riefenstahl.
  • Lily
    4.99 starsIf only there was less Leni! Otherwise perfect, sad because it follows lives till the end. I'd sell a kidney to replace my internal monologue with Amanda Lee Koe's writing. It's also Gay, but equally Sad. Amazing how this story originated from a snapshot, but is such a saga. Actresses age. History happens. This is very good.
  • Kristine
    Delayed Rays of a Star by Amanda Lee Koe is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early July.Oh, I’ve been waiting for this one for sure: second-person narration of Marlene Dietrich, Leni Riefenstahl, and (my dear one, my tattoo) Anna May Wong with in-depth writing that gets to the core of each of the women’s inner self to find what they hide and covet from the rest of the world as they age. Marlene as unabashedly confrontational, aging ungra...
  • Ruby
    this is a modern masterpiece. pls run, not walk, to get your copy. it is about three film icons (dietrich, wong, and liefenstahl) but I think the true gems in this book are the unknown stories of the “supporting cast” whose lives are marked by the three stars. the prose is dense but never clunky. This is an intricate and intelligent novel, definitely the best one I’ve read this year.
  • Katy
    I couldn’t put this book down despite not usually being a fan of historical fiction. I didn’t have much previous knowledge about the historical figures in this story except for Anna May Wong, but I was intrigued by all of their narratives. And I was pleasantly surprised when I realized the story follows a thread of queer women and relationships (and the author is queer as well).
  • Pretty Little Bibliophile
    Title: Delayed Rays of a StarAuthor: Amanda Lee KoePublisher: BloomsburyPublishing date: July 9, 2019Genre: Historical FictionFormat: PaperbackLanguage: English No. of pages: 389My review:Delayed Rays of a Star is an exhilarating read delving into the history and the lives of three women with epic intensity. Spanning from the 1920s to the early 2000s, this novel tells a fictional story of real-life actresses – Marlene Dietrich, Anna May Wong, a...
  • Katherine Ouellette
    The scene is Berlin, 1928. Three up-and-coming movie stars attend a glamorous industry soirée: Marlene Dietrich, a silent film actress who will denounce her German citizenship and side with the Allies; Anna May Wong, the first Chinese American actress to appear on the silver screen; and Leni Riefenstahl, a German actress who will become the first woman director, and later, the director of Nazi propaganda films. The photograph taken that night se...
  • Christine
    I fell in love with Amanda Lee Koe after reading her short story collection Ministry of Moral Panic, and was desperate to get a copy of her debut novel when it was announced.DELAYED RAYS OF A STAR was inspired by a real photograph of Marlene Dietrich, Anna May Wong and Leni Riefenstahl at a Berlin ball in 1928, each relatively unknown at that point. Lee Koe recreates this encounter between an exuberant Marlene, an uncertain Anna May and a haughty...
  • Sam Wescott
    What a beautiful, layered book. Somehow I managed to make it 3/4ths of the way through before I realized that the characters were real people? I don't know how I missed that, but once my brain changed it from fiction to historical fiction, I was even more impressed. The internal lives that Koe gives these women feel real and plausible and very grounded. Their stories intertwine in interesting ways, but even the parts that are completely separate,...
  • Lynda
    At first look, a chance meeting of three strong women with different life experiences, captured in a photograph together may seem to be nothing extraordinary. However, this moment was the beginning of an entanglement of challenges, disappointments and enlightenment for Marlene Dietrich, Anna May Wong and Leni Riefenstahl. The novel, “delaying rays of the stars” was focused on variety, not just of the women but also in the varying lengths and ...
  • Sebastianpeale
    An amazing, wonderful aesthetic output. Subtle and nuanced. Not sure about the substance, as it is detailing some of the conflicts, suffering of humanity: old age, sickness, tragic fate, evil doer. Actually, to write such novel is some sort of Ego inflation and showing off, it is painful and miserable, for the author who is trapped by egoistic voices and the egoistic impulse to keep writing. Amanda may need to slow down. May be better to become a...
  • Laura
    Rating: 2.5, rounded up for the high points.Koe's book is inspired by a photograph, taken in 1928 in Berlin by Alfred Eisenstaedt, of Leni Reifenstahl, actress and the director of Hitler's propaganda films; German (and strongly anti-Nazi) Marlene Dietrich. and Chinese-American actress Anna May Wong. The three had concurrent, and occasionally overlapping, careers. The parts of the book that deal with their personal histories and their interactions...
  • Denisewashington
    I like the meandering, partly poetic, partly ruminative style, although I detect it is really tough and lots of sweats and toil to try to blend historical fiction with a type of literary artpiece. This novel is already quite well done, since the author is very young at a mere 32 years of age, with many exquisite expressions, although a few defects, such as some of the episodes read disjointed and contrived in the context of historical fiction, ja...
  • Elise M
    I received an advance copy of this book from Penguin Random House Canada, & was excited to sink my teeth into it. First of all, Amanda Lee Koe is an evocative writer who effectively presents strong female voices! That being said, I have zero knowledge of any of the 3 protagonists or any of the work they have done with film. I was left feeling as though I was unable to engage on a deeper level because of this. Some of the chapters will certainly s...
  • Laura Jean
    Phenomenal. The book looks at the lives of three contemporaries: Leni Riefenstahl, director of Triumph of the Will; Anna May Wong, Asian American actress; and Marlene Dietrich. I especially love how you will see the same event through they eyes of two or more protagonists. It was also a very interesting look at race in the 1930s, not just in Germany but in Hollywood. You also get a glimpse of race in the 80s too. Very thought provoking.It also ra...
  • Sylvia
    I really enjoyed this book. It was different from anything else I’ve read. Centering on three women in film, Marlene Dietrich, Anna May Wong, and Leni Riefenstahl, it’s a fictional account of each woman, and some of the peripheral people circling them. It was for the most part fascinating, well written and compelling. My only complaint was the bleak and empty lives that each character, even the very minor, had as their ending. This dark view ...
  • Bamboozlepig
    DNF'd at the first Anna section. This is the second novel this week that I've tried to read ("Electric Hotel" was the first) that didn't set the dialogue apart in any way. At least in this one, Koe did use identifiers so you knew who was speaking, but still it was really annoying. It seemed like the plot took its time to meander along and it shifted from past to current time in a rather higgle-de-piggledy fashion.
  • Honestjen
    Charming, dazzling, memorable, a bit dense for me, and I get the impression Amanda is trying too hard to try to impress others, or striving to beat herself. Perhaps cool down and read the book The Subtle art of not giving a fuck. you will feel better.
  • Zestcolumbia
    A delightfully delicious book. Full of sensitive perceptions and comments, little nuggets of wisdom ... although I agree with some of the commentators that maybe Amanda is still very young at age 32, the tragic-philosophic vision is neither here nor there. I certainly hope this novel can win UK's Booker Prize and a few other literary prizes and awards. Given Amanda's young age, this is a momentous achievement for a Singaporean writer. (From artis...