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The Shadow Catcherby Marianne Wiggins
Synopses & Reviews
andlt;bandgt;Following her National Book Award finalist, andlt;iandgt;Evidence of Things Unseen,andlt;/iandgt; Marianne Wiggins turns her extraordinary literary imagination to the American West, where the life of legendary photographer Edward S. Curtis is the basis for a resonant exploration of history and family, landscape and legacy.andlt;/bandgt; andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt; andlt;iandgt;The Shadow Catcherandlt;/iandgt; dramatically inhabits the space where past and present intersect, seamlessly interweaving narratives from two different eras: the first fraught passion between turn-of-the-twentieth-century icon Edward Curtis (1868-1952) and his muse-wife, Clara; and a twenty-first-century journey of redemption. andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt; Narrated in the first person by a reimagined writer named Marianne Wiggins, the novel begins in Hollywood, where top producers are eager to sentimentalize the complicated life of Edward Curtis as a sunny biopic: andlt;iandgt;"It's got the outdoors. It's got adventure. It's got the do-good element."andlt;/iandgt; Yet, contrary to Curtis's esteemed public reputation as servant to his nation, the artist was an absent husband and disappearing father. Jump to the next generation, when Marianne's own father, John Wiggins (1920-1970), would live and die in equal thrall to the impulse of wanderlust. andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt; Were the two men running andlt;iandgt;fromandlt;/iandgt; or running to? Dodging the false beacons of memory and legend, Marianne amasses disparate clues — photographs and hospital records, newspaper clippings and a rare white turquoise bracelet — to recover those moments that went unrecorded, "to hear the words only the silent ones can speak." andlt;iandgt;The Shadow Catcher,andlt;/iandgt; fueled by the great American passions for love and land and family, chases the silhouettes of our collective history into the bright light of the present.
Following her National Book Award finalist "Evidence of Things Unseen," Wiggins turns her literary imagination to the American West, where the life of legendary photographer Edward S. Curtis is the basis for a resonant exploration of history and family, landscape and legacy.
How a lone manand#8217;s epic obsession led to one of Americaand#8217;s greatest cultural treasures: Prize-winning writer Timothy Egan tells the riveting, cinematic story behind the most famous photographs in Native American history and#8212; and the driven, brilliant man who made them.
andldquo;A vivid exploration of one man's lifelong obsession with an idea . . . Eganandrsquo;s spirited biography might just bring [Curtis] the recognition that eluded him in life.andrdquo; andmdash; Washington Post
Edward Curtis was charismatic, handsome, a passionate mountaineer, and a famous portrait photographer, the Annie Leibovitz of his time. He moved in rarefied circles, a friend to presidents, vaudeville stars, leading thinkers. But when he was thirty-two years old, in 1900, he gave it all up to pursue his Great Idea: to capture on film the continentandrsquo;s original inhabitants before the old ways disappeared.
Curtis spent the next three decades documenting the stories and rituals of more than eighty North American tribes. It took tremendous perseverance andmdash; ten years alone to persuade the Hopi to allow him to observe their Snake Dance ceremony. And the undertaking changed him profoundly, from detached observer to outraged advocate. Curtis would amass more than 40,000 photographs and 10,000 audio recordings, and he is credited with making the first narrative documentary film. In the process, the charming rogue with the grade school education created the most definitive archive of the American Indian.
andldquo;A darn good yarn. Egan is a muscular storyteller and his book is a rollicking page-turner with a colorfully drawn hero.andrdquo; andmdash; San Francisco Chronicle
andquot;A riveting biography of an American original.andquot; andndash; Boston Globe
About the Author
andlt;Bandgt;Marianne Wigginsandlt;/Bandgt; is the author of seven books of fiction including andlt;Iandgt;John Dollarandlt;/Iandgt; and andlt;Iandgt;Evidence of Things Unseen.andlt;/Iandgt; She has won an NEA grant, the Whiting Writers' Award, and the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize, and she was a National Book Award finalist in fiction for andlt;Iandgt;Evidence of Things Unseen.andlt;/Iandgt;
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