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The Haunting of L.
Synopses & Reviews
The final book in Howard Norman's Canadian Trilogy: a novel about spirit-photographs, adultery, and greed
It is 1927. Young Peter Duvett has accepted a job as an assistant to the elusive portraitist, Vienna Linn, in the remote town of Churchill, Manitoba. Peter's life is about to change in ways he scarcely could have imagined. Across Canada, Linn has been arranging and photographing gruesome accidents for the private collection, in London, of a Mr. Radin Heur-theirs is a macabre duet of art and violence.
After a strenuous journey, Peter arrives in Churchill on the very night of his employer's wedding only to fall under the spell of Vienna's brilliant and beautiful wife, Kala Murie. Several months later, the uneasy menage a trois moves to Peter's native Halifax. Peter is drawn more and more deeply to Kala as he reluctantly comes to share her obsession with "spirit pictures," photographs in which the faces of the long-dead or forgotten mysteriously appear --and as he sees more and more terrifying scenes come to life in the darkroom.
Howard Norman's The Haunting of L. is a chilling fable of moral blindness and artistic ambition, from a writer of "complexly tragic vision" (Richard Bernstein, The New York Times).
"Each of Norman's novels is in its way a bildungsroman, following a character's emotional development from immaturity to self-awareness. Read together, of course, the novels become also the story of Norman's development as a writer. His progress has occurred in huge leaps, with each novel deepening in emotional complexity as well as resolving the flaws of the one that preceded it." Ruth Franklin, The New Republic (read the entire New Republic review)
"In a sense, The Haunting of L. offers a protracted debate about the existence of the soul. But here, too, Norman refuses to play by simple rules....There is considerable suspense here, and great depth of feeling, but it's the sheer, melancholic oddity of the book that will haunt most readers to the very end." James Marcus, Atlantic Monthly (read the entire Atlantic review)
From the bestselling author of The Bird Artist, the final book in his Canadian trilogy (with The Bird Artist and The Museum Guard): a novel about spirit photographs, adultery, and murder
It is 1927. Young Peter Duvett has accepted a job as an assistant to the elusive portraitist Vienna Linn, in the remote town of Churchill, Manitoba. Across Canada, Linn has been arranging and photographing gruesome accidents for the private collection, in London, of a
Mr. Radin Heur—theirs is a macabre duet of art and violence.
When Peter arrives on the night of his employers wedding, his life changes in ways he scarcely could have imagined. Falling under the spell of Viennas brilliant and beautiful wife, Kala Murie, the uneasy ménage à trois moves to Peters native Halifax, where he reluctantly comes to share Kalas obsession with spirit photographs as Viennas violent art reaches a terrifying climax.
About the Author
Howard Norman is the author of three novels—The Northern Lights, The Bird Artist, and The Museum Guard—and a story collection, The Chauffeur. He has twice been named as a finalist for the National Book Award. He lives with his family in Vermont and Washington D.C.
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