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Synopsis: The final book in Howard Norman's Canadian Trilogy: a novel about spirit-photographs, adultery, and greed
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. Peter's life is about to change in ways he scarcely could have imagined. 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.
After a strenuous journey, Peter arrives in Churchill on the very night of his employer's wedding only to fall under the spell of Vienna's brilliant and beautiful wife, Kala Murie. Several months later, the uneasy menage a trois moves to Peter's native Halifax. Peter is drawn more and more deeply to Kala as he reluctantly comes to share her obsession with "spirit pictures," photographs in which the faces of the long-dead or forgotten mysteriously appear --and as he sees more and more terrifying scenes come to life in the darkroom.
Howard Norman's The Haunting of L. is a chilling fable of moral blindness and artistic ambition, from a writer of "complexly tragic vision" (Richard Bernstein, The New York Times).
Review: 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 Doll
Title: The Haunting of L.
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: 2002
Book Condition: Used: Good
Book Description Hardcover. Book Condition: Acceptable. This is a ex library book, stickers and markings accordingly. Bookseller Inventory # 34FCGQ000M0Y_ns
Book Description Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Hardcover. Book Condition: GOOD. Good clean copy with no missing pages might be an ex library copy; Possibly may have minor marginal notes and or highlighting. Bookseller Inventory # 2793917559
Book Description Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Book Condition: Fair. Acceptable condition. Book Very Good. No dust jacket. Bookseller Inventory # S00U-00181
Book Description Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002. Book Condition: VERY GOOD. little to no wear, pages are clean. The cover and binding are crisp with next no creases. Bookseller Inventory # 2795816410
Book Description New York, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002. Book Condition: Gut. 326 pp, antiquarisch gut erhaltenes Exemplar, good copy, bon etat, K2968 ISBN 0374168253 Sprache: Englisch Gewicht in Gramm: 535 8°, , Hardcover/Pappeinband, DJ, Bookseller Inventory # 908798
Book Description Farrar Straus Giroux, N . Y., 2002. Hard Cover. Book Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. Cover Art (illustrator). 1st. X-Library with normal flaws.The hard cover and the jacket has light shelf wear.Remainder mark. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Hard Back. Bookseller Inventory # NO 29420
Book Description Farrar Straus & Giroux, Gordonsville, Virginia, U.S.A., 2002. Hard Cover. Book Condition: Good. Library withdrawal in the plastic, protective covers. Stamped at the page edge by the library. Book has the card pocket removed from the last blank cover page. Book looks PRESENTABLE!. Bookseller Inventory # AuerOct9VI11
Book Description Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Hardcover. Book Condition: Good. 0374168253 Inscribed by author to title page. Hardcover with Dust Jacket Book: Boards with shelf wear. Pages unmarked. Binding with no separations. DJ with edge wear. no tears. chip to back **Tracking on all US orders**Most orders shipped within 24 hours**Insurance to all orders over $50**. Bookseller Inventory # SKU1013041
Book Description Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002. Hardcover. Book Condition: Used: Very Good. Bookseller Inventory # SONG0374168253
Book Description Farrar Straus & Giroux, New York, NY, 2002. Hard Cover. Book Condition: NF. Dust Jacket Condition: NF. First Edition / First Printing. Noce clean copy. 326 pages. N-5. Bookseller Inventory # 035330