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Eight girls taking pictures : a novel
Whitney Otto
Adult Fiction OTTO

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Of the girls who take the pictures-Cymbeline, Amadora, Clara, Lenny, Charlotte, Miri, Jessie, and Jenny-the first six are based on real photographers. Some, like Imogen Cunningham and Lee Miller, are quite well known, and others, like Grete Stern, less so, but even the more fictional Jenny Lux bears a resemblance to Sally Mann, if not in her life, in her work. These women lead interesting, bohemian lives: they take lovers, travel, get involved in wars and revolutions, but what they really have in common is the struggle to find their voices, to deal with and confound expectations of women (which change over the century covered here, but not enough), and to balance work with love and motherhood. So far so good, but the problem is that Otto (How to Make an American Quilt), who calls the book "my mash note, my valentine to these women photographers," doesn't succeed in integrating her fine research into a fictional work that stands on its own: though the women's lives start to connect at the end, throughout most of the book it's not clear that linking their stories makes a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Agent: Joy Harris. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Otto, the best-selling author of How To Make an American Quilt, returns with a compelling novel about the interconnected lives of eight female photographers. In the beginning, the novel reads like a collection of short stories, but it is gradually revealed that many of the "girls taking pictures" meet or influence one another's lives and art across the decades. The story is wide-ranging, spanning most of the 20th century and locations from San Francisco to New York to London, Berlin, and Buenos Aires, but at the center of each of the eight stories is a fascinating woman, often struggling with the traditional gender roles and societal expectations, as she seeks to establish herself as a photographer with her own unique perspectives and abilities. Otto skillfully develops each character and draws the reader in with rich detail that must be the result of careful and extensive research. VERDICT Highly recommended; those with an interest in photography, women's history, or feminist literature should particularly enjoy. [See Prepub Alert, 5/20/12.]-Shaunna Hunter, Hampden-Sydney Coll., VA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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