Jonathan Coe, a summer with Billy Wilder

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There is something dizzying about Jonathan Coe’s new novel. With the narrative virtuosity that we know him, the British writer engages in Billy Wilder and I to a nice balancing act, starting from a seemingly innocuous character, a Greek musician living in London, to then take us, between Greece, Germany and France, after a detour through Los Angeles, on the set of Felt.

Namely the penultimate film of the great Billy Wilder (1906-2002), with, in the title role – that of a Hollywood star of unspeakable beauty – an actress who, during her first appearance in a restaurant chic Beverly Hills, is accompanied by Al Pacino. And immediately attracts the attention of the filmmaker: “I think the very beautiful woman sitting across from him, with brown hair, is his girlfriend, who is also an actress.” This is of course Marthe Keller. The couple formed on the set of Bobby deerfield, directed by Sydney Pollack in this year 1976.