Black White

ISBN 10: 1400032121 / ISBN 13: 9781400032129
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Synopsis: Clara Brodeur has spent her entire adult life pulling herself away from her famous mother, the renowned and controversial photographer Ruth Dunne, whose towering reputation rests on the unsettling nude portraits she took of her young daughter.

At age eighteen, sick of her notoriety as “the girl in the pictures,” Clara fled New York City, settling and making her own family in small-town Maine. But years later, when Ruth reaches out from her deathbed, Clara suddenly finds herself drawn back to the past she thought she had escaped. From the beloved author of Family History and Slow Motion, a spellbinding novel that asks: How do we forgive those who failed to protect us?

Review: In Dani Shapiro's captivating new novel, a mother struggles to protect her young daughter from the dark secrets of her past. Haunting and insightful, Black & White explores the notions of family and motherhood, inspiration and obligation, and is sure to appeal to fans of Jodi Picoult and Anita Shreve. Find out more about Shapiro's artistic practices and influences below. --Daphne Durham

10 Second Interview: A Few Words with Dani Shapiro

Q: What is your writing process like? Has it changed from book to book?
A: As I was doing my usual flailing around before I began to write Black & White, I found that I had some questions in mind that I hoped to explore, if not answer--and those questions very much came out of my preoccupations as a writer and as a mother of a young child: is it possible to be as fully absorbed as one needs to be to produce good, strong art--and be equally fully absorbed in the raising of small children? What happens when that delicate balancing act teeters? And also, as someone who has written quite a bit of personal non-fiction, I wondered: where is the line--or perhaps it's less of a line and more of a murky gray area--when it comes to writing about the personal stuff when there's this little person who's involved, a person who will grow up and read it some day? These ideas began to really preoccupy me, and finally the novel started to form itself around them.

When I begin the first draft of a book, I write longhand. I've become quite attached to these particular spiral-bound notebooks that can only be purchased in my in-laws' hometown, and so whenever they come to visit I ask them to bring me a pile. I think most writers indulge in magical thinking when it comes to the process, and many of us require talismans; mine are these notebooks. I used to only write on the computer, but I've found, in the last number of years, that I feel much freer to have no idea where I'm going when I'm writing by hand. There's something very neat--perhaps too neat--about the blank computer screen, and the ease of cutting and pasting, moving whole blocks of text around. For me, it's infinitely more satisfying to scribble and cross things out and make big sweeping arrows and asterisks as I'm working on drafts. It looks messy and complicated--it looks like what it is. On those early pages I feel like I can see a map, or a diagram, of my process.

Q: What author/s have inspired you?
A: In the big, enduring ways, as a literary backbone: Tolstoy, George Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Philip Roth, Joan Didion, Saul Bellow, Grace Paley. And while I was writing Black & White, Alice Munro's stories in Runaway and Ian McEwan's novel Saturday were immensely important in my grappling with understanding how to create a close third person narrative without losing the periphery.

Q: What are you working on now?
A: I'm trying to start a new novel. Viriginia Woolf wrote this great passage in her diary, after she finished The Waves: "I must hastily provide my mind with something else, or it will again become pecking and wretched." I'm a much nicer person when I'm working on a book. When I begin I have so little to go on--a feeling, a sense, an image or two. It's like coaxing shadows out of the corners.

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Title: Black White
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