Books by Marianne Wiggins

THE SHADOW CATCHER by Marianne Wiggins
Released: June 1, 2007

"An ambitious, lively work, though its fragments don't coalesce perfectly. "
Wiggins (Evidence of Things Unseen, 2003, etc.) takes on real-life American photographer Edward Sheriff Curtis. Read full book review >
Released: June 11, 2003

"Still, the author brings these characters to life even as Ray (as in ray of light) and Opal (opalescence) begin to seem overtly apocryphal."
A comprehensive love story stretches from the birth of X-rays to the detonation of the first nuclear weapons, and links it all with rural America between the wars. Read full book review >
EVELESS EDEN by Marianne Wiggins
Released: Oct. 11, 1995

From Wiggins (Herself in Love, 1987; John Dollar, 1988; etc.): a novel about ambition, love, and politics that reaches for emotion but is better at capturing attitude. Noah John, at 40-plus, is a tough-talking veteran journalist and head of the London bureau of a newspaper that sounds like the New York Times but isn't. Hard-boiled as Noah may be after having been everywhere and having seen everything (though he's also sensitive, being said to cry too easily), he's still on the lookout for loveand his life is changed forever in 1986, when, covering a natural disaster in Cameroon, he meets the world-famous photojournalist known as Divi (`` `I didn't know you were Noah John,' she said....`I didn't know you're ``Divi'',' I said...''). The beautiful, ambitious, driving, independent, dedicated Divi, who will remind many of a latter-day Leni Riefenstahl, has the real name of Lilith Luciana da Vinci; is the child of parents who were internationally known opera impresarios and voice teachers; has inherited their perfect apartment in Paris; and falls for Noah John in a trice. All is well for a couple of sensually blissful years, until Lilith suddenly gets itchy; is hit by a car in London driven by Romania's Minister of Trade, Adam Pentr£; and in a mini-trice drops Noah for Adam. The result isn't good, Noah falling into midlife despond and Lilith into nightmare, atrocity, and ruthless depravity inside dictator Ceauescu'sand Adam Pentr£'sRomania. Another assignment, however, will bring Noah there also; and though he won't find Liliththat'll have to wait until later, after Adam's mysterious deathhe'll discover more than enough for a single lover, and for any dozen journalists. Romance, adventure, and politics from New York to Paris to London to Berlin to Timioara: Wiggins carries these forward with knowledgeable zest, but the deeper themes just don't have the voices here to lift them convincingly. Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 1991

In a second collection—set mostly in the US but also in London, Wales, Amsterdam, and Spain—Wiggins (John Dollar, 1989; Herself in Love, 1987) brings together three stories about mortality, a couple of parodistic but effective voice pieces, and several others that get lost in wordplay. ``Grocer's Daughter,'' a moving memoir (``I am shameless in the way I love my father'') intersplices a matter-of-fact narrative with lists. ``Angels,'' about an abandoned child left with her Greek grandmother Fanny in ``the hottest place in all Virginia,'' uses a slew of relatives and long dense passages to convey the tumbledown reality of a child, ``the women disappearing from the family right and left like pocket money.'' Likewise, the very brief ``A Cup of Jo'' juxtaposes old man Harry's search for words to bring alive a long-ago morning of trout fishing with a young niece's attempts to understand him after his apparent stroke. Of the rest, ``Balloons 'n Tunes'' is a tour de force about an old man, Carl Tanner, who keeps talking to his wife after her death, much to the consternation of nosy neighbor Dolores. ``Bio Slepcu'' uses a sleazy voice out of film noir to capture, as though in amber, a womanizer (who ``robbed them blind, of bits of selves'') meeting a former lover who's very sick. The others are either episodic or so odd-angled in their linguistic trickery that they remain strange and incomplete, resulting in long liquid passages of punning prose (``Eso Es'') or clever metafictional repartee (``Zelf Paortret'') but not much else. An interesting exception is ``Croeso I Gymru,'' about a couple on the lam in Wales—a story that compellingly captures the flavor of exile. Some of these, then, remain too strange or come off as too clever by half, but Wiggins is always adroit and sometimes haunting in her effects. Read full book review >