Synopses & Reviews
It was Emily Carr (18711945) not Georgia O'Keeffe or Frida Kahlo who first blazed a path for modern women artists. Overcoming the confines of late Victorian culture, Carr became a major force in modern art. Her boldly original landscapes are praised today for capturing an untamed British Columbia and its indigenous peoples just before industrialization would change it forever.
In her latest novel, Susan Vreeland brings to life this fiercely independent and underappreciated figure. From illegal potlatches in tribal communities to prewar Paris, where her art was exhibited in the famed Salon d'Automne, Carr's story is as arresting as it is vibrant. Vreeland tells it with gusto and suspense, giving vivid portraits of Carr and the unconventional people to whom she was inevitably drawn: Sophie, a native basket maker; Harold, the son of missionaries, who embraces indigenous cultures; Fanny, a New Zealand artist who spends a summer with Carr painting in the French countryside; and Claude, a French fur trader who steals her heart. The result is a glorious novel that will appeal to lovers of art, native cultures, and lush historical fiction.
"[Vreeland's] robust narrative should do much to establish Carr's significance in the world of modern art." Publishers Weekly
"[Vreeland's] dramatic depictions of Carr's daunting solo journeys, arduous artistic struggle, persistent loneliness, and despair over the tragic fate of the endangered people she came to love truly are provocative and moving." Booklist
"A sensitive, sober account of an interesting woman and her times, narrated with respect for the factual record and a minimum of heavy breathing." Kirkus Reviews
"The Forest Lover has many strengths. Vreeland movingly conveys Carr's quest to understand and convey in paint the essence of Northwest forests and native culture. Carr's friendship with Sophie Frank draws her (and the reader) into a very personal understanding of the horrific cost of the attacks on native people and their way of life." Oregonian
"Vreeland has found perhaps the most appropriate venue yet to express her own exuberant feminism and spirituality. What's more, by immersing herself in Carr's extensive writings, Vreeland has picked up the tenor of the painter's language her eclectic mysticism, emotional devotion, and single-mindedness. The result is a life story that's sympathetic to a fault." Ron Charles, Christian Science Monitor
(read the entire Christian Science Monitor review
Vreeland's third novel focuses on the courageous Canadian painter Emily Carr, who blazed a path for modern women by overcoming the confines of Victorian culture. Carr traveled through native villages and wilderness of British Columbia in the early 1900s, often alone, on a quest to paint totem poles and other artifacts before the indigenous traditions died out and the poles were destroyed or sold.
About the Author
Susan Vreeland's is the bestselling author of Girl in Hyacinth Blue, The Passion of Artemisis, and The Forest Lover. Her short fiction has appeared in journals such as the Missouri Review, New England Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, and Tri-Quarterly.