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Sunday Afternoon Book Group

Mary Coin

Mary Coin by Marisa Silver

Hardcover336 pages

Published March 7th, 2013 by Blue Rider Press (first published January 1st 2013)

*An NPR Best Book of 2013*
*A BBC Best Book of 2013*
In her first novel since The God of War, the critically acclaimed author Marisa Silver takes Dorothea Lange’s “Migrant Mother” photograph as inspiration for a breathtaking reinvention—a story of two women, one famous and one forgotten, and of the remarkable legacy of their chance encounter.

In 1936, a young mother resting by the side of a road in Central California is spontaneously photographed by a woman documenting the migrant laborers who have taken to America’s farms in search of work. Little personal information is exchanged, and neither woman has any way of knowing that they have produced what will become the most iconic image of the Great Depression.

Three vibrant characters anchor the narrative of Mary Coin. Mary, the migrant mother herself, who emerges as a woman with deep reserves of courage and nerve, with private passions and carefully-guarded secrets. Vera Dare, the photographer wrestling with creative ambition who makes the choice to leave her children in order to pursue her work. And Walker Dodge, a present-day professor of cultural history, who discovers a family mystery embedded in the picture. In luminous, exquisitely rendered prose, Silver creates an extraordinary tale from a brief moment in history, and reminds us that although a great photograph can capture the essence of a moment, it only scratches the surface of a life.

 

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  • Caitlin

    I just finished reading this book and thought I would be able to make it to Sunday's session (finally after following this group on MeetUp for a while now), but I'm now unable to attend. But I love loved this book - thanks for a great recommendation!

    September 29, 2014

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