The Flight Portfolio (Knopf Publishing Group)
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.
Praise for The Flight Portfolio
"Varian Fry lit a small, bright lamp in a world of darkness, and in the deft hands of Julie Orringer--under the spell of her masterful prose, her feeling portraiture, her classic spy-thriller plotting and her vivid recreation of that beautiful and terrible world--I found the radiance of Fry's courage, flawed humanity, and steadfast resistance shedding an inexhaustible light on our own ever-darkening time."--Michael Chabon
"No book this year could possibly compare with The Flight Portfolio ambitious, meticulous, big-hearted, gorgeous, historical, suspenseful, everything you want a novel to be."--Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Less
"A historical novel absolutely relevant to our own time, The Flight Portfolio brings to life a hero as complex and engrossing as the agonizing ethical questions he faces. Orringer not only recreates the world of wartime Marseille, but seems to drop the reader there by way of a masterfully fashioned literary trapdoor--and anyone who picks up this spectacular novel risks a swift descent into its vivid and consuming swirl."--Nell Freudenberger
Julie Orringer is the author of two award-winning books: The Invisible Bridge, a novel, and the short-story collection How to Breathe Underwater, both New York Times Notable Books. She is the winner of The Paris Review’s Plimpton Prize and the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the MacDowell Colony, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, and the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. She lives in Brooklyn.
Sarah Manguso is the author, most recently, of 300 Arguments (2017), a work of aphoristic autobiography. Her other nonfiction books include Ongoingness: The End of a Diary (2015), an essay on self-documentation, motherhood, and time; The Guardians (2012), an essay on friendship and suicide; and The Two Kinds of Decay (2008), an essay on living with chronic illness. Her work has been supported by Hodder and Guggenheim fellowships and the Rome Prize, and her books have been translated into six languages. She lives in Los Angeles.