Monday, November 10, 2008


The Shadow Catcher, Marianne Wiggins, Simon & Schuster Inc, 2007, 318 pp

This is one of the best books I have read this year. Though this woman is my age, she writes with the energy of a woman in her 30s, but with the skill and beauty of long experience. Oddest fact of all: she was married to Salman Rushdie from 1988-1993.

The shadow catcher in the story is Edward S Curtis, a controversial photographer born in 1868, who became well known for his photos of Native Americans. In the novel, Marianne Wiggins is a woman who lives in Los Angeles and wrote a book about Edward Curtis. The novel moves back and forth in time, with sections about Curtis, his wife Clara and his career. The other sections are about Marianne and the mysterious way that the legacy of Curtis enters into her life in the present day.

The whole thing was just astonishing to me. Wiggins is tough, humorous, wise and brilliant as a writer. I knew from the first few pages that I was in the best of hands as a reader. Like any good storyteller, she includes a mystery within the history, the love stories and the scenery. If you live in LA and have traveled in the Western United States, as I have, it makes it all the more realistic.

I am not going to say more because one of the best things about this book is the discoveries you make as you read.

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