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Friday, January 11, 2008

The Shadow Catcher (Nov. '07)

The Shadow Catcher, by Marianne Wiggins (audio) - Ok, I'm not sure what to say about this one. I was a bit distracted while listening so I'm not sure if I heard everything fully. I found the details of Clara and Edward's young life intriguing but once they were married the book seemed to skip ahead too quickly. But here's my real concern: this book is a novel but it is based on historical fact ... so where does truth end and imagination begin? Did Edward Curtis, famous photographer of reservation Indians, actually spend much of his later life as an openly gay man? Did the author really come across a man who had stolen the identity of her late father? In books like this, I really love when the author includes a Forward or an Afterword that explains things. In his Alfred the Great series, author Bernard Cornwell ends each book with a clear explanation of the facts in the story as well as the liberties he took with them while writing. I would have appreciated that here.

NOTE: Another blogger gave me a link to the new DVD version of Curtis's original photographic presentation - it's worth checking out!


Jay River said...

There is no know information that supports Wiggins plausible fiction of Curtis as a gay man:)

Curtis's work reverberates on through history because he knew how to capture character and soul on camera.

He has, however, turned into a subject of controversy because of the tug of war between documentary and art.

I think the images speak for themselves.

You might find it interesting that there is a film of Curtis's 'Indian Picture Opera', found on Amazon. It reflects, in his own words, about the people he spent many years observing. I think it makes his legacy less confusing, and filters out the noise of the last century.

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

Thanks for the info Jay! I found Curtis's photography and history fascinating ... I just wasn't a fan of this particular book.

The Indian Picture Opera looks fascinating; I'll have to watch it sometime.

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