The Age of Light (Hardcover)

A Novel

By Whitney Scharer

Little, Brown and Company, 9780316524087, 384pp.

Publication Date: February 5, 2019

List Price: 28.00*
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"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 Everywhere

She 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.

About the Author

Whitney Scharer earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington, and her short fiction has appeared in the Bellevue Literary Review, Cimarron Review, and other journals. She's received an Emerging Artist Award in Literature from the St. Botolph Club Foundation, a Somerville Arts Council Artists grant, and been awarded a residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. The Age of Light is her first novel.

Praise For The Age of Light: A Novel

A Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Pick

"Scharer sets her
viewfinder selectively, focusing on her heroine's insecurities as much as her
accomplishments as an artist; her hunger to be more than "a neck to hold
pearls, a slim waist to show off a belt" is contrasted with her habit of
solving problems by simply leaving. The price for Lee is steep, but it makes
for irresistible reading. Sexy and moving."—Kirkus, starred review

"Scharer's intoxicating first novel...bring[s] a stunning chiaroscuro effect to the saga of a woman transforming herself into an artist."—Booklist, starred review

"Scharer's stellar debut chronicles the tumultuous working
and romantic relationships of photographer Man Ray and
model-turned-photographer Lee Miller in early 1930s Paris...This brilliant
portrayal of the complicated couple features a page-turning story and
thrillingly depicts the artistic process."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Rapturous and razor sharp all
at once, The Age of Light fearlessly unzips anything we might know of
Lee Miller as model and muse and recasts her as artist, free thinker and
architect of a singular and unapologetic life. Whitney Scharer is a stunning
new discovery. This novel sparks on every page."—Paula McLain, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Wife and Love and Ruin

Scharer's storytelling is utterly immersive and gorgeous in its details,
transporting you into Lee Miller's life, and her struggles to be taken
seriously in a man's world. This is a powerful, sensual and gripping portrait
of the forging of an artist's soul."—Madeline Miller, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Circe and Song of Achilles

incandescent prose, Whitney Scharer has created an unforgettable heroine
discovering her passion, her independence, and her art-and what she must
sacrifice to have them. Sweeping from the glamour of 1920s Paris through the
battlefields of World War II and into the war's long shadow, The Age of
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 Everywhere

extraordinary young woman discovers love and art and betrayal among the artists
of 1930s Paris and documents the horrors of war through her singular camera
lens. An uplifting, heartbreaking and altogether immersive read."—Helen Simonson, New York Times bestselling author of The Summer Before the War and Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

Age of Light
is a bold, intimate and gorgeous novel-at once a vivid romp
through the salons and parties of the Paris art world in the 1930s and a
breathtaking close up of a woman battling to be both muse and artist, lover and
collaborator, and above all, herself. This is a relevant, utterly enthralling
debut from a talented writer who understands the complex intersection of
ambition and femininity. I was swept off my feet."—Jessica Shattuck, New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Castle and The Hazards of Good Breeding

I first read The Age of Light, I thought it might have been written
expressly for me, since it has everything I love in it: photography, sex, love,
war, 1920s Paris, a relationship struggle between two artists, a woman's
journey from model to photographer, and the most exquisite writing.
Then I realized: this magnetic, addictive novel will beguile every reader.
Read it, read it!"—Jenna Blum, New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Save Us and The Lost Family

"A masterpiece, The Age of Light is a
searing, evocative novel of love and war, and a woman's fierce determination to
transcend her role as muse and remake the world through her own art. Whitney
Scharer is a remarkably gifted storyteller - a major new voice in historical fiction."—Dawn Tripp, bestselling author of Georgia and Game of Secrets

"Scharer's scrupulous research and dazzling prose fuse to
create a captivating portrait of the little-known - but now unforgettable - Lee
Miller, whose exceptional beauty, bold conviction, and rare
talent disrupted the male-centric art scene of 1920's Paris."—Georgia Hunter, New York Times bestselling author of We Were the Lucky Ones