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The forest lover
Susan Vreeland
Adult Fiction VREELAN

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From Publishers' Weekly:

The Canadian artist Emily Carr (1871- 1945) could be a feminist icon. Spirited and courageous, inspired by an inner vision of "distortion for expression" and by a mission to capture on canvas the starkly fierce totem poles carved by the Indian tribes of British Columbia, Carr endured the disapproval of her family and of society at large until her belated vindication. One of the pleasures of this beguiling novel based on Carr's life is the way Vreeland (Girl in Hyacinth Blue) herself has acquired a painter's eye; her descriptions of Carr's works are faithful evocations of the artist's dazzling colors and craft. No art schools taught the techniques that Carr felt suitable to the immense, rugged landscape of British Columbia. Moreover, when she ventured into isolated tribal villages and befriended the natives, braving physical discomfort and sometimes real danger, she was accused of "unwholesome socializing with primitives." Drawing on Carr's many journals, Vreeland imagines her experiences in remote areas of B.C. as well as in Victoria, Vancouver and (briefly) France. There are few dramatic climaxes; instead, Vreeland emphasizes Carr's relationships with her rigidly conventional siblings and with her mentors and colleagues. She vividly describes the obstacles Carr faced when she ventured into the wilderness and in her periods of near poverty and self-doubt. A fictitious French fur trader introduces a romantic element, which may offend purists. Much of the suspense comes through Carr's affectionate relationship with a real woman, Sophie Frank, a Squamish basket maker who loses nine children to white men's diseases. Adding to Sophie's emotional desolation is the torment introduced by inflexible Christian dogma that alienates tribes from their native traditions and spiritual beliefs. Vreeland provides this historical background with the same authoritative detail that she brings to the Victorian culture that challenged Carr's pioneering efforts. Her robust narrative should do much to establish Carr's significance in the world of modern art. Agent, Barbara Braun. 17-city author tour. (Feb. 9) Forecast: Vreeland's sizable audience should guarantee this book an early place on the charts. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Canadian artist Emily Carr (1871-1945) loved to paint her native British Columbia, especially its forests and indigenous people, but she wanted to catch the spirit and feeling of her subjects, not just render photograph-like works. Defying convention as well as her prim Victorian sisters, Emily ventured into British Columbia's wilderness, befriending the natives and often enduring considerable physical hardship to paint native totem poles and villages as an attempt to save them from oblivion. This captivating novel, drawing on Carr's many journals, traces the artist's life as she struggles to learn the techniques to convey her modern vision while trying to make a living. Vreeland, best-selling author of Girl in Hyacinth Blue and The Passion of Artemisia, captures Carr's obsession with art while providing the historical background and vividly describing her paintings. The energetic narrative conveys the drama of Carr's solo journeys, her pain over the fate of native peoples, and her intense love of the wilderness. Thanks to this book, her work should receive more of the recognition it deserves, for she truly was a pioneer. Karen White reads with energy, making the artist come to life. The tape quality is excellent; highly recommended for large libraries.-Nancy R. Ives, SUNY at Geneseo (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Emily Carr
Landscape artist; lived and studied among the Squamish Indians.

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