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Half In Shade: Family, Photography, and Fate
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Half In Shade: Family, Photography, and Fate

3.64  ·  Rating Details  ·  33 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
“Judith Kitchen has written a book that is at once clear and accessible and at the same time insistently complex. Her effortlessly constructed hybrids make Half in Shade part memoir, part speculation, part essay, a demonstration of the interactive art of seeing, and finally for me, a beautifully sustained meditation. It is at that meditative level that the book’s potent, u ...more
Paperback, 214 pages
Published April 3rd 2012 by Coffee House Press (first published March 23rd 2012)
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Sarah Wells
Nov 12, 2013 Sarah Wells rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
Judith Kitchen’s lyric memoir uses photographs to navigate her ancestral tree. By analyzing and reflecting on the photographs included in the book, Judith maneuvers through history and reimagines what life may or may not have looked like. By doing so, you can feel the author reaching for connection, understanding, and relationship with people that are no longer living.

Judith’s tone is haunting throughout the book. It is characterized by short sentences and sentence fragments of detail, which ma
Mar 11, 2014 Heather rated it it was ok
Judith Kitchen's Half in Shade was a collection of short essays that explored photographs of the author's family members of long ago. She examined each artifice, front and back; filled in as many details as she knew and could devise; and perhapsed her way through the rest. The result is a mosaic of her family history.

In some ways I felt like I was sitting with Kitchen in her livingroom, digging through boxes of photographs and inspecting them together. She certainly did some research to discover
Oct 14, 2014 Tovah rated it liked it
Judith Kitchen is a lyric essay name among names, so I want to like Judith Kitchen's writing. There was one essay, "Bits and Pieces:1," which I loved and could read again. It had a surprising symmetry to the logic and the ideas presented--there were children playing at war and young men strutting their stuff as they practiced WWI trench maneuvers. The ending brings a dark banality that is both unexpected and obviously pointed towards throughout the two page essay. This short, satisfying read did ...more
Doug Dams
Apr 12, 2012 Doug Dams rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
I selected this book based on how I thought it might fit in with my hobbies of genealogy and photography. The book deals with the author's thoughts and feelings about old family photos and journals found after her mother's death. The author doesn't know many of the people in the photographs and tries to provide them with stories and lives based on remembered family stories and conjecture. Plus she tries to see the elderly parents and grandparents she knows in the photos of them when they were mu ...more
Shayla Drumm
May 07, 2012 Shayla Drumm rated it did not like it
As I read Half In Shade: Family, Photography, and Fate, I was torn between the beautiful poetic writing and the lack of connection with the author or the people in the photographs. While the author used descriptive language and provided details associated with the photography it seemed that her family members (as they would already have an affinity for the people pictured) would be more appreciative of this book than the general public. There was nothing endearing to me about the people or place ...more
Josephine Ensign
Jul 27, 2013 Josephine Ensign rated it really liked it
"Afternoons filled with time, as though it were solid and you could save it in your pocket.(...) You stepped right inside the pages and they held you up." p.48 A summer afternoon reading in my garden treat today to read in one sitting--really it was that good. Similar to what Kitchen's Distance and Direction has done in my life, Half in Shade will stay on my bookshelf and be pulled out to re-read over and over....
Cassaundra Aunna
Jun 21, 2012 Cassaundra Aunna rated it really liked it
I really, really enjoyed it. It's so full of REAL, TRUE life. The author is so honest. I loved the way it was written, and the words just flow together. It was a beautiful mix of the pain of cancer, and old family photographs. I absolutely loved it, and would definitely read it again.

I won this book on Goodreads First Reads.
Apr 28, 2012 Dawn rated it it was ok
I received this book as a Good Reads first reads giveaway. I love looking at old photographs-- staring at them, hoping to tease any information possible out of them. so i enjoying the author's musings on the photographs, as well as her mother's travel journal, in this book. a thoughtful poetic reflection.
Aug 16, 2012 Bridgett rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, mesmerizing book. Considers the question of narrative and what it is, what it can be.
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“Imagination, then, must be the flip side of memory, not so much a calling up as a calling forth. Yet imagination also relies on knowledge: on knowing what is—and is not—possible in this world of fact. Imagination plants the seed or buries the bulb knowing the seasons will shift, seeing, in the mind’s eye, April give way to August, the azalea to the rose, knowing that the red leaves of the maple will burnish in autumn, knowing that from this exact window, one can look down to the inlet where the moon’s reflection will be just another shimmering white blossom.” 0 likes
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