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Mary Coin

A Novel
Silver, Marisa (Book - 2013 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Mary Coin
Print

Item Details

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.
Authors: Silver, Marisa
Title: Mary Coin
a novel
Publisher: New York :, Blue Rider Press, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,, [2013]
Characteristics: 322 pages ;,23 cm
Content Type: text
Media Type: unmediated
Carrier Type: volume
Notes: Subtitle from jacket.
Summary: 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.
ISBN: 9780399160707
0399160701
9780142180785
Statement of Responsibility: Marisa Silver
Subject Headings: Women migrant labor Fiction. Women photographers Fiction. Dust Bowl Era, 1931-1939 Fiction. Depressions 1929 Fiction. Photojournalism United States History 20th century Fiction. Rural poor United States Fiction.
Genre/Form: Historical fiction.
Topical Term: Women migrant labor
Women photographers
Dust Bowl Era, 1931-1939
Depressions
Photojournalism
Rural poor
LCCN: 2012039861
MARC Display»

Library Staff

Dorothea Lange’s famous Depression era photograph entitled Migrant Mother is the inspiration for this remarkable novel. Silver reimagines the lives of both the photographer and her subject. Mary Coin is a young mother grappling with severe economic realities while Vera Dare, the brilliant artist... Read More »


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This is a beautifully written novel that gives the reader a lot to think about. "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." An excellent book club pick; non-fiction companion reading is also available about the photo "Migrant Mother" and its photographer.

Nov 18, 2013
  • ABluestocking rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Mary Coin is an enjoyable book. I love reading history and esp The Great Depression. No big surprises.

Oct 01, 2013
  • madison382 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is one of the best books I have read in a while. The story stays with with you long after you are done reading the book.

Sep 25, 2013
  • paschalville rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

enjoyed this book....moderately heavy and that was good for me. some heavy moments, light moments, overall pleasant engrossing story

Sep 24, 2013
  • muffin0321 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Enjoyed this book. Based on a true painting and what it means to really see into it and the lives of those around it.

Sep 09, 2013
  • gracindaisy rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Fictional account behind the famous Depression-era photo of a mother & child by Dorothea Lange. Three characters – the mother, the photographer & a college professor – are linked.

Jul 28, 2013
  • ohiostatefan rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A very moving story inspired by the iconic photo "Migrant Mother" by Dorothea Lange.

Jul 24, 2013
  • LaughingOne rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

There are several stories within the story, and they definitely are not in chronological order. This was a bit disconcerting for me. But once I realized the stories do all connect in some way and I can figure out a chronology that makes me happy, I was able to read the book and feel all the feelings the subjects brought up in me. I loved how Marisa Silver took the famous photograph by Dorothea Lang and created a full, engrossing life and story for the woman portrayed. I would have liked more detail near the end of the book, when loose ends were being tied up (that's how it felt). After spending a lot of time in pieces of the characters' lives, I felt not enough time was spent in the wrapping up of those lives. I do highly recommend this novel, however.

Jul 23, 2013
  • Malca rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This well-written novel teaches the reader the importance of looking behind the photograph, removing the layers to discover the truth. The iconic photo by Dorothea Lange is the heart of the novel. Mary Coin brings to mind The Dollmaker by Arnow and The Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck, as well as The Girl with the Pearl Earring. Highly recommended for book groups.

Jul 14, 2013
  • rosenyny rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

The writing immediately draws you in and the subject matter from a historical perspective is quite compelling. She provides nuanced character development. You feel like you really know these characters. Highly recommend this book.

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Version pocillo (pocillo) Last updated 2014/08/29 09:56