This sumptuous historical novel charts the life of war photographer Lee Miller, who began her career as a model in late-1920s Paris and entered into a complex relationship with Man Ray as his muse, student and lover. Scharer's inviting prose makes it easy to slide into Miller's fascinating and criminally overlooked story. Highly recommended for fans of Paula McLain and Anthony Doerr.
Picked by Sarah in Fort Greene
February 2019 Indie Next List
“Art lovers will enjoy this sexy, brilliant novel about Man Ray and Lee Miller set in Paris during the Jazz Age. Ray met Miller shortly after she arrived in Paris, young and just learning her craft. He became her mentor and lover, an intense relationship with the older man nurturing the younger woman’s talent. But as Miller grew into her art and the relationship shifted, Ray’s ego needed to be first. By WWII, Miller is at the height of her powers, and she leaves behind the safety of shooting portraits for the battlefields of Europe, documenting the horrors of concentration camps. Following Miller from her youth to old age, Scharer explores the passions and creativity of two larger-than-life characters.”
— Deon Stonehouse, Sunriver Books & Music, Sunriver, OR
Winter 2019 Reading Group Indie Next List
“Set in 1930s Paris, The Age of Light tells the story of Lee Miller, an accomplished woman in her own right, and her relationship as assistant and lover to the artist Man Ray. This novel chronicles her journey from muse to artist; for lovers of historical fiction, this one’s for you. A page-turner from start to finish.”
— Mary Kay Burnett, Buttonwood Books and Toys, Cohasset, MA
Sweeping from the glamour of 1930's Paris through the battlefields of World War II and into the war's long shadow, The Age of Light is a startlingly modern love story and a mesmerizing portrait of a woman's self-transformation from muse into artist.--Celeste Ng, New York Times bestselling author of Little Fires EverywhereShe went to Paris to start over, to make art instead of being made into it. A captivating debut novel by Whitney Scharer, The Age of Light tells the story of Vogue model turned renowned photographer Lee Miller, and her search to forge a new identity as an artist after a life spent as a muse. I'd rather take a photograph than be one, she declares after she arrives in Paris in 1929, where she soon catches the eye of the famous Surrealist Man Ray. Though he wants to use her only as a model, Lee convinces him to take her on as his assistant and teach her everything he knows. But Man Ray turns out to be an egotistical, charismatic force, and as they work together in the darkroom, their personal and professional lives become intimately entwined, changing the course of Lee's life forever. Lee's journey takes us from the cabarets of bohemian Paris to the battlefields of war-torn Europe during WWII, from discovering radical new photography techniques to documenting the liberation of the concentration camps as one of the first female war correspondents. Through it all, Lee must grapple with the question of whether it's possible to reconcile romantic desire with artistic ambition-and what she will have to sacrifice to do so. Told in interweaving timelines, this sensuous, richly detailed novel brings Lee Miller-a brilliant and pioneering artist-out of the shadows of a man's legacy and into the light.