Signed, Mata Hari
From a bleak childhood in the Netherlands, through a loveless...more
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Mata Hari was one of the most well-known exotic dancers of all times, yet her true fame came after the accusations that she was spying for Germans during the First World War. A fascinating person in real life, she takes on added dimensions in the beautifully written novel "Signed, Mata Hari" by Yannick Murphy. This exquisite novel portrays Mata Hari as a daughter, a lover, a wife, a friend, a mother and more, but first and foremost...more
Although Murphy's subject is fascinating, her approach feels over-determined. The narrative is chopped up into extremely short chapter...more
The most interesting part of her life - to me - is how an untrained Dutch orphan passed herself off as an exotic temple dance...more
Mata Hari was a certain Dutch exotic dancer, who lived in Java, and then came back to Holland. Later in her career, she was found guilty of being a spy for the Germans in the First World War. She was then executed by fi...more
This book shows what happens to a woman with few resources in a maddening cloud of war. Mati Hari did her best to reclaim her identity and her children. She may have been a high priced call girl, but the book illustrates that she did this out of dire need. She was left behind by an abusive husband; the husband took her child...more
Long on getting anywhere.
How awful to be thinking, when you know someone is going to get executed ... get on with it! But that's the way it was.
This was a quick, easy read and, while the writing had a strong poignant quality, I did not find enough depth to satisfy me. The story was told in flashback, jumping between Mata Hari in prison and Margaretha growing up. We are presented with a picture Margaretha : an abandoned girl, a young woman in a loveless marriage, an ingenue in the...more
Yannick Murphy's novel certainly seduced reviewers, but such seduction may have derived from the author's literary dance rather than from readers' inherent interest in the subject. Critics admired Murphy's masterful descriptions, shifts in perspectives, and attention to details alternately selected and invented from the real Margaretha Zelle's life. The result is a poetic novel that will draw in even those who never thought they would enjoy reading about exotic European espionage. (The case docu...more
I don't know how to review, I have mix feeling about this.
The early chapters are very promising but during the course of reading, the mixture of the 1st person and the 3rd person narration became very confusing, still the writing was great but the character Mata Hari/Margaretha Zelle was under-developed, I feel I didn't learn anything new about her, she's still a mystery even after I finished reading. The thing is Murphy tells a lot about her and how she feels but the...more
Yannick Murphy's strength is captured with the way that she can turn a phrase and make mundane descriptions really sing. However the novel was frantic...more
I was fascinated by the novel's portrayal of the life story of Mata Hari and found myself completely swept up in it. Yannick Murphy's writing is beautiful and equally compellingly portrays the heat and closeness of the tropics and the cold of a Parisia...more
I enjoyed many of the discriptive passages from the book...for example, Mata Hari digging up the tulip bulbs, or how she discribed the smells of Java.
The book also told of the struggles of poor children or women who did not have a decent man too support them. They seemed to have no rights; the me...more
I don't know how much of this is fictionalized but the author did a good job in keeping my interest. The majority of the book is in first person with Mata Hari telling her life story beginning with her childhood in the Netherlands, through a loveless marriage in Java to her scandalous life as an dancer and later a spy during WWI.