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One move to America, one surprise pregnancy and a lot of fun later.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Shadow Catcher by Marianne Wiggins

The Shadow Catcher

Narrated in the first person by a reimagined writer named Marianne Wiggins, the novel begins in Hollywood, where top producers are eager to sentimentalize the complicated life of Edward Curtis as a sunny biopic: ""It's got the outdoors. It's got adventure. It's got the do-good element."" Yet, contrary to Curtis's esteemed public reputation as servant to his nation, the artist was an absent husband and disappearing father. Jump to the next generation, when Marianne's own father, John Wiggins (1920-1970), would live and die in equal thrall to the impulse of wanderlust.

Were the two men running "from" or running to? Dodging the false beacons of memory and legend, Marianne amasses disparate clues -- photographs and hospital records, newspaper clippings and a rare white turquoise bracelet -- to recover those moments that went unrecorded, "to hear the words only the silent ones can speak." "The Shadow Catcher," fueled by the great American passions for love and land and family, chases the silhouettes of our collective history into the bright light of the present.

Hmmm, a difficult one to review.  The story of Edward Curtis and the separate story of Marianne Wiggins were both very interesting concepts.  

I loved the story of Edward Curtis but felt that the author did not go into enough detail for me.  I was frustrated at the way she seemed to summarise a lot of it and gloss over a lot that, I felt, was important to this part of the story.  This story should have been a book in itself and I would have loved to read it.

On the other side, the current  story of Marianne Wiggins was over done.  It had an interesting baseline, the loss of her father and the mistaken/stolen identity of her father.  I thought she rambled on too much about what was going around in her mind which did not add anything to the story the book was trying to tell.  I was also left with so many unanswered questions, why Curtis Edwards stole the identity, who was Clarita and how was she related to Edward Curtis and Clara and so many more.  

Still a fairly interesting read and it will make a good book group discussion but not one that I would say everyone should rush out and read.

3 out of 5 for me.

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