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Mary Coin

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*An NPR Best Book of 2013*
*A BBC Best Book of 2013*

In her first novel since The God of War, the critically acclaimed author Marisa Silver takes Dorothea Lange’s “Migrant Mother” photograph as inspiration for a breathtaking reinvention—a story of two women, one famous and one forgotten, and of the remarkable legacy of their chance encounter.

In 1936, a young mother resting by the side of a road in Central California is spontaneously photographed by a woman documenting the migrant laborers who have taken to America’s farms in search of work. Little personal information is exchanged, and neither woman has any way of knowing that they have produced what will become the most iconic image of the Great Depression.

Three vibrant characters anchor the narrative of Mary Coin. Mary, the migrant mother herself, who emerges as a woman with deep reserves of courage and nerve, with private passions and carefully-guarded secrets. Vera Dare, the photographer wrestling with creative ambition who makes the choice to leave her children in order to pursue her work. And Walker Dodge, a present-day professor of cultural history, who discovers a family mystery embedded in the picture. In luminous, exquisitely rendered prose, Silver creates an extraordinary tale from a brief moment in history, and reminds us that although a great photograph can capture the essence of a moment, it only scratches the surface of a life.

324 pages, Hardcover

First published March 7, 2013

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About the author

Marisa Silver

14 books201 followers
Marisa Silver is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel, Mary Coin (published by Blue Rider Press, March 7th, 2013).

Marisa Silver directed her first film, Old Enough, while she studied at Harvard University. The film won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance in 1984, when Silver was 23. Silver went on to direct three more feature films, Permanent Record (1988), with Keanu Reeves, Vital Signs (1990) and He Said, She Said (1991), with Kevin Bacon and Elizabeth Perkins. The latter was co-directed with her husband-to-be, Ken Kwapis.

After making her career in Hollywood, she switched her profession and entered graduate school to become a short story writer. Her first short story appeared in The New Yorker magazine in 2000 and subsequently several more stories have been published there.

Silver also published the short-story collection, Babe in Paradise, in 2001. That collection was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and was a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year. A story from the collection was included in The Best American Short Stories 2000. In 2005, she published No Direction Home and in 2008, The God of War was published to great acclaim.

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