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The Age of Light

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The Age of Light

February 2019

THE AGE OF LIGHT by Whitney Scharer intrigued me as it is a novel about Lee Miller, a well-known Vogue model who became a renowned photographer and journalist. I had spent my earlier career at Conde Nast, so anything that is magazine- or art-related always catches my eye. There are some wonderful references to Conde Nast throughout the book, as well as the excitement that was generated by the heady days of the magazine world at that time.

Man Ray, the Surrealist painter, was in awe of Lee, and she convinced him to teach her about photography instead of just being his muse. It captures a brilliant time in the ’20s and ’30s when the art scene in Paris was thriving. Life was filled with nights of decadent partying and passionate entanglements, as well as heartfelt support of causes. At the opening of the book, it’s 1966 and Lee is asked to look back on her days with Ray. While the magazine thinks this will be a homage, Lee instead unfurls her story, telling more about the darker side of the man and their relationship.

Whitney’s prose is rich and detailed, so readers feel drawn right into the story. She clearly did her research and then wove it into her storytelling, which is vivid and sharp.

Lee was more than a pretty face, and she showed her chops when she headed boots on the ground to cover the war in later years. These chapters are interspersed with those of the earlier days in Paris and show a sharp contrast of the carefree Lee of early years with the tough woman she becomes. Her world is darker by now as she is disgusted by the Nazis and where the world has spun. Here we see a tougher Lee, one who has been battle-scared both by war and by life.

I loved the multi-dimensional character of Lee and how Whitney tackled each phase of her life. It would make for an interesting book club discussion.

The Age of Light
by Whitney Scharer

  • Publication Date: February 5, 2019
  • Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • ISBN-10: 0316524085
  • ISBN-13: 9780316524087