""""A compelling, deeply rewarding novel from a unique southern storyteller, American Ghost is Janis Owens' richly woven story about how unresolved family history and the racial tensions of the past threaten a love affair between two young Floridians""""--From the bestselling author of How to Make an American Quilt comes a powerful and sweeping novel inspired by the lives of famous female photographers. A deeply affecting meditation on the lives of women artists, Whitney Otto's vivid novel explores the ambitions, passions, conflicts and desires of eight female photographers throughout the twentieth century. This spectacular cast of spirited, larger-than-life women offers wide-ranging insight about the times in which they lived. From San Francisco to New York, London, Berlin, Buenos Aires, and Rome, Otto spins a magical, romantic tale that creates a compelling portrait of the history of feminism and of photography. While their circumstances may differ, the tensions these women experience-from wanting a private life or a public life; passion or security; art or domesticity; children or creative freedom-are universal. Otto seamlessly weaves together eight breathtaking vignettes to form a moving and emotionally satisfying novel.
In her fourth novel (after The Schooling of Claybird Catts), Owens takes on an ugly subject and largely succeeds with an engrossing story. Based on the last reported lynching in America, Owens relocates the history to a tiny Florida town, where, in 1938, Henry Kite, a black man, was lynched after shooting a Jewish storekeeper. Decades later, the storekeeper's great-grandson, Sam, a graduate student in anthropology, arrives to investigate the lynching. Things get complicated when he falls for Jolie, a Pentecostal preacher's daughter whose family are thought of as "inbred hillbillies." In the town of Hendrix, everyone knows everything, and tongues wag over Jolie's catching herself a "rich Jew." Then, while hunting with her brothers, Sam is shot. As he recuperates, Jolie flees, believing he was only using her for the investigation. The two don't meet again until a decade later when another investigator becomes interested in the lynching. A thwarted romance set against the backdrop of a town's difficult history, this story showcases Owens's talent for characterization and his ability to make settings come alive, but his choice to write dialogue in dialect sounds too much like something we've heard before. Agent: Marly Rusoff & Associates. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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March 11, 2013
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