Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction
National Book Award Finalist
This breathtaking memoir, marrying Sally Mann's powerful photography with a personal story so captivating that it rivals great works of fiction, reveals how one's art can become thoroughly intertwined with one's life. Read this book: it's a truly powerful work of art in its own right. Recommended By Renee P., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
A revealing and beautifully written memoir and family history from acclaimed photographer Sally Mann.
In this groundbreaking book, a unique interplay of narrative and image, Mann's preoccupation with family, race, mortality, and the storied landscape of the American South are revealed as almost genetically predetermined, written into her DNA by the family history that precedes her.
Sorting through boxes of family papers and yellowed photographs she finds more than she bargained for: "deceit and scandal, alcohol, domestic abuse, car crashes, bogeymen, clandestine affairs, dearly loved and disputed family land...racial complications, vast sums of money made and lost, the return of the prodigal son, and maybe even bloody murder."
In lyrical prose and startlingly revealing photographs, she crafts a totally original form of personal history that has the page-turning drama of a great novel but is firmly rooted in the fertile soil of her own life.
"Generous, enlightening, thought-provoking, often dark but more often funny enough to make you laugh out loud, Hold Still is a book to hold on to for dear life, because this is one of those books that if you loan it out, you’ll never see it again." Malcolm Jones, The Daily Beast
"Hold Still, multigenerational in its scope, southern in its humor, and Nabokovianin its ambition, is gorgeously written and convincing." The Atlantic
"A boldly alive, bracingly honest, thoroughly engrossing, sun-dappled, and deeply shadowed tale of inheritance and defiance, creativity and remembrance by an audacious and tenacious American photographer." Booklist (Starred Review)
"Hold Still [is] a glorious marriage of words and pictures, a courageous and visually ravishing memoir." BookPage
"Intelligent, heartfelt, hilarious, disarming…. It flows like wine-fueled gossip." Boston Globe
"[A] wonderfully weird and vivid memoir—generously illustrated with family snapshots, her own and other people’s photos, documents, and letters—describes a life more dramatic than I had imagined." Francine Prose, New York Times Book Review
"Hold Still…[is a] weird, intense and uncommonly beautiful new memoir…. A cerebral and discursive book about the South and about family and about making art that has some of the probity of Flannery O’Connor’s nonfiction collection Mystery and Manners yet is spiked with the wildness and plain talk of Mary Karr’s best work…. An instant classic among Southern memoirs of the last 50 years.” Dwight Garner, New York Times
About the Author
Sally Mann (born in Lexington, Virginia, 1951) is one of America's most renowned photographers. She has received numerous awards, including NEA, NEH, and Guggenheim Foundation grants, and her work is held by major institutions internationally. Her many books include What Remains (2003), Deep South (2005), and the Aperture titles At Twelve (1988), Immediate Family (1992), Still Time (1994), Proud Flesh (2009), and The Flesh and the Spirit (2010). A feature film about her work, What Remains, debuted to critical acclaim in 2006. Mann is represented by Gagosian Gallery, New York. She lives in Virginia.