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Black & White
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About the Author

Dani Shapiro is the author of four acclaimed novels, Family History, Playing with Fire, Fugitive Blue, and Picturing the Wreck, and the best-selling memoir Slow Motion. She teaches in the graduate writing program at The New School, and has written for TheNew York Times, Granta, Elle, and Ploughshares, among other magazines. She lives with her husband and son in Litchfield County, Connecticut.

Reviews

Clara, the protagonist of Shapiro's uneven fifth novel (after Family History), is the youngest daughter and muse of Ruth Dunne, a famous Manhattan photographer who made her name shooting Sally Mann-style (read: nude and provocative) photos of a young Clara. Unable to bear the humiliation of being "the girl in those pictures," Clara runs away from home at 18. Fourteen years later and still estranged from her mother, Clara's living in Maine with her husband and daughter when her older sister calls and tells her Ruth is in failing health. Clara travels back to Manhattan, where she comes to terms with her family and herself. Though Clara's frequent bemoaning of her emotional scars tries the reader's patience, Shapiro's sharp depictions of love and shame go a long way toward putting the self-pity into relief. It's unfortunate that Ruth fails to comes across as anything more than a narcissistic artist, but the novel offers some fine insights into marriage, the making of art and the often difficult mother-daughter dynamic. (Apr.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

It has been 14 years since Clara last saw or spoke to her mother, the renowned photographer Ruth Dunne, when her sister calls to say that Ruth is dying of lung cancer. Returning home to New York, Clara is forced to revisit her feelings about Ruth's work, particularly the subversive, invasive photographs of Clara from age three to 14, while dealing with Ruth's inevitable decline toward death. The story unfolds beautifully, drawing the reader into the family drama, while Shapiro (Family History) creates a sense of uneasy secrecy about Ruth and Clara's relationship by revealing only a few details at a time. Oprah's Book Club readers or fans of Jodi Picoult will enjoy this psychologically gripping book, and there will be a reading group guide available. Recommended for most libraries.-Amy Ford, St. Mary's Cty. Lib., Lexington Park, MD Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

"Spellbinding . . . provocative, hypnotic . . . spot-on authentic. A cool depiction of a mother and daughter's fraught and fiery relationship." --USA Today"Enthralling, fast-paced and a great read. Black & White presents knotty, compelling issues that Shapiro examines intelligently." --The Miami Herald"Shapiro's central characters are expertly rendered: both the damaged Clara, whose childhood trust in and love for her mother was abused, and Ruth, whose love for her daughter and her art were so inextricably linked that they became interchangeable."--Elle"Uncompromising storytelling. . . . The ideas Shapiro grapples with resonate, and she raises trenchant and enduring questions that resist easy answers." --Los Angeles Times"Funny and tragic. . . . Perfectly displays Shapiro's commanding craftsmanship...Shapiro does something rather thrilling with her story: she gets it just right. --The Washington Post

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