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The Age of Light : A Novel
2019
Availability
Fiction/Biography Profile
Characters
Lee Miller (Female), Photographer, Arrives in Paris to escape her past as a model; pursues her passion for being an artist
Genre
Fiction
Historical
Topics
Love affairs
Emotions
Art
Passion
Setting
Paris, France - Europe
Time Period
1929 -- 20th century
Large Cover Image
Trade Reviews

  Publishers Weekly Review

Scharer's stellar debut chronicles the tumultuous working and romantic relationships of photographer Man Ray and model-turned-photographer Lee Miller in early 1930s Paris. As as an older woman living on a farm in East Sussex, Lee contemplates an assignment to write about her time with Man. Scharer intersperses her memories of that era with the grim but satisfying later years of being a WWII photographer. The years during and after the fall of Hitler led to her most important work, but also to a drinking problem. These scenes are juxtaposed against her hope-and-love-filled initial years in Paris, where she meets the older Man at a party and later convinces him to take her on as an apprentice. Man nurtures her talent as a photographer but also proves himself possessive and controlling, both as a lover and as a mentor. It becomes clear that he and his circle of famous artists ultimately don't take women's work seriously, prompting Lee to betray him. When Man guts her by submitting her photography under his name for a prize, she exacts revenge via another project he wanted to take from her and brings matters to a head. Scharer's brilliant portrayal of the complicated couple features a page-turning story and thrillingly depicts the artistic process. (Feb.) c Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Summary
Told in the alternating timelines of 1930s Paris and the battlefields of WWII, this "rapturous and razor sharp" debut novel brings to light the life of Lee Miller , a little known but fearlessly original artist whose legacy remains largely unexplored (Paula McClain, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Wife ). <br> <br> "I'd rather take a photograph than be one," Lee Miller declares after she arrives in Paris in 1929, where she soon catches the eye of the famous Surrealist Man Ray. Though he wants to use her only as a model, Lee convinces him to take her on as his assistant and teach her everything he knows. As they work together in the darkroom, their personal and professional lives become intimately entwined, changing the course of Lee's life forever.<br> <br> Lee's journey of self-discovery takes took her from the cabarets of bohemian Paris to the battlefields of war-torn Europe during WWII, from inventing radical new photography techniques to documenting the liberation of the concentration camps as one of the first female war correspondents. Through it all, Lee must grapple with the question of whether it's possible to stay true to herself while also fulfilling her artistic ambition--and what she will have to sacrifice to do so.<br> <br>
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