The Mercury Visions of Louis Daguerre
By Dominic Smith
(Atria, Hardcover, 9780743271141, 320pp.)
Publication Date: February 2006
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In this luminous debut novel, Dominic Smith reinvents the life of one of photography's founding fathers. Louis Daguerre's story is set against the backdrop of a Paris prone to bohemian excess and social unrest. Poets and dandies debate art and style in the cafe s while students and rebels fill the garrets with revolutionary talk and gun smoke. It is here, amid this strange and beguiling setting, that Louis Daguerre sets off to capture his doomsday subjects.
Louis enlists the help of the womanizing poet Charles Baudelaire, known to the salon set as the "Prince of Clouds," and a jaded but beautiful prostitute named Pigeon. Together they scour the Paris underworld for images worthy of Daguerre's list. But Louis is also confronted by a chance to reunite with the only woman he's ever loved. Half a lifetime ago, Isobel Le Fournier kissed Louis Daguerre in a wine cave outside of Orle ans. The result was a proposal, a rejection, and a misunderstanding that outlasted three kings and an emperor. Now, in the countdown to his apocalypse, Louis wants to understand why he has carried the memory of that kiss for so long.
Dominic Smith is the author of The Mercury Visions of Louis Daguerre. He is a former recipient of the Dobie Paisano Fellowship from the Texas Institute of Letters. His fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and appeared in The Atlantic Monthly. He grew up in Australia and now lives in Austin, Texas. Please visit Dominic's website at www.dominicsmith.net.