The extraordinary and unconventional life of a modern teenage bohemian.
‘I am Cat Balou, I am Jeanne Moreau, I am Modigliani’s lover, but not the one who threw herself out of the window…’
Una is a sixteen year old sexual fantasist. In 1989 she is a kept woman in Paris who’s romantic ideas about the lifestyle of a mistress to an aging record producer don’t quite live up to the reality. She searches for an affair that corresponds to her dreams, but finds herself flitting from one romantic infatuation to another, obsessed by the idea of sex but careful of her virginity.
From her borrowed studio in Pigalle she explores a bohemian Paris full of unpredictable characters: her Caribbean neighbour Henri, who creeps in naked to use her shower when she’s out; her friends Ines the stripper and Marcus, who help her scrape an existence of Burger Kings and Gauloises. La Dolce Vita is hot on her heels, from the pretentious prince who woos her to the transvestite prostitute who chases her.
As Una drifts through a year in her life, she is carried from Paris to a wintry Prague on the verge of revolution, to her rambling family home in rural Italy and to a shocking pre-honeymoon in Brazil. Una’s voyage is a rite of passage from girlhood to womanhood. Like most journeys, it involves danger and discovery.
Dolce Vita, with its cocktail of fantasy, innocence and worldliness, introduces a strong and unusual new voice in British fiction.