Tuesday, March 30, 2010

An Absence So Great by Jane Kirkpatrick

Kirkpatrick has been writing what she calls speculative historical fiction for fifteen years. She speculates about the why of things after researching the more factual what and when.
This book is a little different than her usual historical fiction as it is about her own grandmother, Jessie. Aunts and uncles had made audiotapes and her grandmother had been "interviewed" before her death. In writing this book Kirkpatrick was investigating a woman who had shaped her own life, through her mother. This story was written to explore the life of a woman she loved and wished to honor.
While it does not say so on the cover, this is the second book about her grandmother (the first was A Flickering Light). Unfortunately, Kirkpatrick does not do a good job of filling the reader in on the events of the first book. Having not read A Flickering Light, I was puzzled by some references to the earlier experiences that shaped Jessie and her relationship to her future husband.
All in all this is an excellent book. It is well written and gives the reader lots of information about photography and the role of women in business around 1910. I highly recommend it (but read A Flickering Light first).
This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.
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