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From the bestselling author of The Bird Artist, the final book in his Canadian trilogy (with The Bird Artist and The Museum Guard): a novel about spirit photographs, adultery, and murder
It is 1927. Young Peter Duvett has accepted a job as an assistant to the elusive portraitist Vienna Linn, in the remote town of Churchill, Manitoba. Across Canada, Linn has been arranging and photographing gruesome accidents for the private collection, in London, of a
Mr. Radin Heur—theirs is a macabre duet of art and violence.
When Peter arrives on the night of his employer’s wedding, his life changes in ways he scarcely could have imagined. Falling under the spell of Vienna’s brilliant and beautiful wife, Kala Murie, the uneasy ménage à trois moves to Peter’s native Halifax, where he reluctantly comes to share Kala’s obsession with spirit photographs as Vienna’s violent art reaches a terrifying climax.
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The Haunting of L., Howard Norman's exploration of depravity and the influence of remorse, overcomes an underdeveloped plot with a consistently eerie sense of suspense. Following the tragic death of his mother, Peter Duvett leaves his Halifax home and travels to Churchill, Manitoba, where he has accepted a job as an assistant to a photographer he has never met. The photographer, Vienna Linn, works for a local Jesuit, for whom he takes pictures of recently baptized townspeople. Duvett soon meets Linn's "exquisite" new bride, Kala Murie, a devoted student of spirit photography, a phenomenon in which the images of the deceased appear in photographs alongside family and friends. Things turn especially bizarre when Murie fills Duvett in on the truth about her husband before seducing him on her wedding night: Linn is working for a deranged English spiritualist, Radin Heur, who pays him to arrange and photograph train wrecks. As his affair with Murie intensifies, Duvett chooses to remain with the pair, a witness to Linn's murderous attempts to appease Heur and the consuming guilt that follows.
Duvett states that a good book, in his opinion, makes him "feel some nervousness, excitement, agitation, even fear about what happened next." By this standard, The Haunting of L. is indeed a worthwhile novel; a classically styled mystery and the sort of strange-but-true tale Duvett favors. Norman (author of The Bird Artist) captures stark snapshots of setting and character, eliciting anticipation by focusing on the essentials and leaving detail in the shadows. The Haunting of L. ends up as an effective ghost story, creating alluring tension in its obscurity, making for an intriguing, if underexposed, portrait. --Ross DollFrom the Back Cover:
" The Haunting of L is aptly named, for it is a remarkably haunting and evocative book, a story about passions of all species -- adulterous, murderous and artistic -- that grip not merely the living but even the dead. This is a memorable and gripping book by one of our most significant novelists." -- Scott Turow
“Howard Norman’s The Haunting of L. is his best work yet, a novel of romantic suspense which grips our attention and touches our hearts. Through Mr. Norman’s extraordinary gift of listening to the past, these voices speak again, photographs light up and move, lives driven by spiritual as much as by earthly passions are recovered and redeemed.” -- Thomas Pynchon
“Mr. Norman writes, as always, with an insistent otherness -- he most certainly is observing a world, in the words of Kipling, ‘beside the one you know.’ His vision is beautiful, disquieting, and cumulatively quite shockingly persuasive.” -- David Mamet
“As with The Bird Artist, Howard Norman here makes brilliant metaphoric use of the portrait-maker’s compulsion. Mysterious, morally complex, and erotically charged, The Haunting of L . is compelling on every level.” -- Andrea Barrett, author of Ship Fever
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Book Description Picador, 2003. Paperback. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # mon0000022623
Book Description Picador, 2003. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0312421664
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