Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Caught in the Shadows

The Shadow CatcherAs some patrons and colleagues have discovered, I don't usually read the new books until they're a bit old. I wait for some of the hype and the hold queues to lessen before checking out that novel or non-fiction title. I also like the book to withstand the test of time, even if the time is a paltry five years. So when a friend recently got me a book published in 2007, I felt rather cutting-edge in my reading.

Edward S. Curtis: Coming to LightFortunately, the book was worth it. Shadow Catcher, by Marianne Wiggins, is a novel loosely based on the life of Edward S. Curtis, a photographer of Western Americana and people at the beginning of the 20th Century. Like his photographs, his life has been shrouded in myths, mythmaking, and controversy. The novel doesn't try to be historically accurate, but even adds to the delightful obfuscation by throwing in a character named Marianne Wiggins. Beautifully written, juxtaposing fact and fiction, past and present, text and photos, Shadow Catcher has been quite a find for a 21st Century read.

To catch the lightningIf you've already read Shadow Catcher, or aren't in the mood for ambiguity, there are also a number of non-fiction and photography books about Edward Sheriff Curtis, and even another novel: To Catch the Lightning by Alan Cheuse.

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