Sensual, vivid and sometimes shocking, Albany Park is the story of Patrice Chaplin’s youthful years: from a grey wartime childhood to exhilarating and dangerous adventures in Europe and an romantic infatuation that came about in a sun-drenched Catalonian city.
Patrice and Beryl, teenagers in the 1950s, live in Albany Park, a London suburb. Life is full of make-up, boys, trad jazz and Soho nightclubs; dreams are of Hollywood. Leaving behind dead-end jobs, they hitchhike across Spain, dressed in the alternative street fashions of the day: white lipstick, dangle earrings, drainpipe trousers. Their path leads to the ancient city of Girona and the charismatic poet, José Tarres. For Patrice it is a homecoming – a rebirth that will mark the end of a friendship and the beginning of a lifetime’s obsession.
Patrice is enchanted by José, but there are shadows on the sunlit days – a possessive mother, mysterious absences, rumours of women and whispers of espionage. With plans to elope seemingly aborted, she finds herself alone in Paris, taking work as a showgirl, arrested as a vagrant and escaping unwanted sexual advances. Only years later, returning to Girona as a writer, does she finally learn the truth about the enigmatic José, the first and true passion of her life.
‘Surging intensity that keeps the reader glued to the page – On the Road, European style.’ – New York Times
‘Perfectly pitched and painfully funny… Chaplin is a true original.’ – New Society
‘The best evocation of a country since Laurie Lee’s.’ – Daily Mail
PATRICE CHAPLIN is an internationally renowned author and playwright who has published more than two dozen books. Her most notable works include Albany Park, Siesta (which was made into a film starring Jodi Foster and Isabella Rossellini), Into the Darkness Laughing, Hidden Star, Night Fishing and Death Trap. Her stage play From the Balcony was commissioned by London’s National Theatre in conjunction with Radio 3. As a Bohemian in Paris during the 50s and 60s, Patrice spent time with Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. Married to Charlie Chaplin’s son, Michael, and living and working in Hollywood, she was friends with everyone from Lauren Bacall and Miles Davis, to Salvador Dali and Jean Cocteau, who gave her a starring role in one of his films.
In her trilogy City of Secrets, The Portal and The Stone Cradle, Patrice opens the door to entirely new and compelling elements of the Rennes-le-Château mystery involving the enigmatic Catalan capital of Girona.
Patrice is the director of The Bridge, a non-profit organization that leads workshops based in the performing arts as a new and unique way to help fight addiction. She resides in North London.
Published in the UK by Clairview Books, 28 May 2021
£12.99; 204pp; 21.5 x 13.5 cm; paperback; ISBN 9781912992294