A photograph captures an instant in time. Even an iconic portrait like Dorothea Lange’s “Migrant Mother,” which somehow encapsulates an entire era, has a fleeting impermanence that reminds us again and again of the fragility of life. A novel, on the other hand, has the unique capability of unfolding at a pace rich and slow enough for us to glean the complex and interweaving layers that constitute a human life. Marisa Silver’s new novel, Mary Coin, has accomplished an extraordinary feat: by using Dorothea Lange’s photograph as a basis for a novel, she combines the instantaneous power of that image with the luminously imagined story leading up to and after the moment it was taken.
Literary Affairs is delighted to bring Marisa Silver’s newest book, a precisely rendered novel that vividly paints the harsh realities of rural poverty during the Depression while also meditating on art, motherhood and survival, to our readers. Silver’s last book The God of War, was as lauded by critics as it was by our discerning book club members. Silver has risen to the task once again, making the face in that photograph, at once defiant, strong and etched with struggle and dignity, come to full-fledged life on the page.
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About the Author
Marisa Silver made her fiction debut in The New Yorker when she was featured in that magazine’s first “Debut Fiction” issue. Her collection of short stories, Babe in Paradise was published by W.W. Norton in 2001. That collection was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and was aLos Angeles Times Best Book of the Year. In 2005, W.W. Norton published her novel, No Direction Home. The God of War, was published in 2008 by Simon and Schuster and is a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for fiction. Her second collection of stories, Alone With You, was published in April, 2010. Her new novel, Mary Coin, will be published by Penguin/Blue Rider Press in March, 2013. Winner of the O. Henry Prize, her fiction has been included in The Best American Short Stories,The O. Henry Prize Stories, as well as other anthologies.