The Age of Light
She went to Paris to start over, to make art instead of being made into it.A captivating debut novel by Whitney Scharer, The Age of Light tells the story of Vogue model turned renowned photographer Lee Miller, and her search to forge a new identity as an artist after a life spent as a muse. "I'd rather take a photograph than be one," she declares after she arrives in Paris in 1929, where she soon catches the eye of the famous Surrealist Man Ray. Though he wants to use her only as a model, Lee convinces him to take her on as his assistant and teach her everything he knows. But Man Ray turns out to be an egotistical, charismatic force, and as they work together in the darkroom, their personal and professional lives become intimately entwined, changing the course of Lee's life forever.Lee's journey takes us from the cabarets of bohemian Paris to the battlefields of war-torn Europe during WWII, from discovering radical new photography techniques to documenting the liberation of the concentration camps as one of the first female war correspondents. Through it all, Lee must grapple with the question of whether it's possible to reconcile romantic desire with artistic ambition-and what she will have to sacrifice to do so.Told in interweaving timelines, this sensuous, richly detailed novel brings Lee Miller-a brilliant and pioneering artist-out of the shadows of a man's legacy and into the light.

The Age of Light Details

TitleThe Age of Light
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 5th, 2019
PublisherLittle, Brown and Company
ISBN-139780316524087
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction

The Age of Light Review

  • Jennifer S. Brown
    January 1, 1970
    This novel of Lee Miller--a model turned photographer who became the assistant and lover to the more famous artist Man Ray--is lush and engrossing and the details of her life swept me away. There is something almost photographic in the way Scharer captures the story, diving into Miller's life as a war correspondent in the 1940s, delving into Miller's libertine mindset, and allowing us to enter the lives of the artistic scene of Paris in the late 20s and early 30s, each image crystallizing for us This novel of Lee Miller--a model turned photographer who became the assistant and lover to the more famous artist Man Ray--is lush and engrossing and the details of her life swept me away. There is something almost photographic in the way Scharer captures the story, diving into Miller's life as a war correspondent in the 1940s, delving into Miller's libertine mindset, and allowing us to enter the lives of the artistic scene of Paris in the late 20s and early 30s, each image crystallizing for us. Moments are chosen and illuminated creating a vivid story. I can't stop thinking of the ending. A wonderful book.
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  • Tammy
    January 1, 1970
    This is a romance novel masquerading as historical fiction. Despite my interest in Man Ray and Lee Miller, I truly don’t need to read about their steamy sex. Their sexual proclivities aside, there is a lot about this that simply reads false.
  • Liz
    January 1, 1970
    As an amateur photographer and someone who loves photography as art, I was thrilled to get an advance copy of this book about Lee Miller and Man Ray. It took me back to the days when photography was as much about developing a picture as taking it. The book shines when the descriptions turn to the art of photography, especially when Lee is framing a shot or Man is teaching her how to develop for maximum effect or they come up with a new technique. When she is determining how to take a shot, I cou As an amateur photographer and someone who loves photography as art, I was thrilled to get an advance copy of this book about Lee Miller and Man Ray. It took me back to the days when photography was as much about developing a picture as taking it. The book shines when the descriptions turn to the art of photography, especially when Lee is framing a shot or Man is teaching her how to develop for maximum effect or they come up with a new technique. When she is determining how to take a shot, I could totally envision it. What I didn’t enjoy it was when it lingered for pages on the romance and sex. I liked that the book alternates between Lee in Paris with Man Ray and her time as a war correspondent in London and France during WWII. I am not a fan of romance novels and I tend to get irritated at books that purport to be historical fiction when they’re really more romance novels. So parts of this book definitely irritated me and I skimmed over those sections. In the end, I had trouble relating to Lee. The author needed to do a better job of explaining her. For those who enjoy Paula McLain, this book will probably be enjoyable as the writing styles are definitely similar. In case you can’t tell, I’m not a big an of McLain. My thanks to netgalley and Little, Brown for an advance copy of this novel.
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  • Celeste Ng
    January 1, 1970
    In incandescent prose, Whitney Scharer has created an unforgettable heroine discovering her passion, her independence, and her art—and what she must sacrifice to have them. Sweeping from the glamour of 1920s Paris through the battlefields of World War II and into the war’s long shadow, THE AGE OF LIGHT is a startlingly modern love story and a mesmerizing portrait of a woman’s self-transformation from muse into artist.
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  • Crystal King
    January 1, 1970
    I knew very little about Lee Miller before diving into this delightful debut novel (thanks NetGalley and Little, Brown). I was immediately drawn in, not just by the exquisite language and Scharer's gift of storytelling, but also her ability to send you right into the mind of Miller. Scharer squeezes your heart, and inflames your senses with every move that Miller makes. It was only afterward when I wanted to know more about Man Ray and his enchanting lover that I found Scharer took a few liberti I knew very little about Lee Miller before diving into this delightful debut novel (thanks NetGalley and Little, Brown). I was immediately drawn in, not just by the exquisite language and Scharer's gift of storytelling, but also her ability to send you right into the mind of Miller. Scharer squeezes your heart, and inflames your senses with every move that Miller makes. It was only afterward when I wanted to know more about Man Ray and his enchanting lover that I found Scharer took a few liberties with Miller's history, but all for the good of the story itself. I devoured this gorgeous book and all of the decadence of Paris in the 1930s, the bohemian lifestyle of these artists and Miller's complex transformation into a woman of her own that underlies it all. This book left me in tears on the last page. The impression of this novel is one I will carry with me for months and years forward.
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    My favorite book so far this year. Absolutely brilliant!
  • Christopher Castellani
    January 1, 1970
    This is such an engrossing and transporting book, one that, as many readers have already noted, makes these glamorous and thrilling characters come vividly alive on every page. Scharer is a natural storyteller who gets you emotionally invested not only in the relationship between Lee Miller and Man Ray, but in the dramas and passions of the demimonde they inhabited, and especially in the psychology of Miller herself. I particularly liked how The Age of Light was told solely from Lee Miller's per This is such an engrossing and transporting book, one that, as many readers have already noted, makes these glamorous and thrilling characters come vividly alive on every page. Scharer is a natural storyteller who gets you emotionally invested not only in the relationship between Lee Miller and Man Ray, but in the dramas and passions of the demimonde they inhabited, and especially in the psychology of Miller herself. I particularly liked how The Age of Light was told solely from Lee Miller's perspective, giving us a complete picture of this artist and innovator who was much more than Man Ray's assistant/lover, but a formidable artist and model and war photographer. The novel builds power as it goes, and the last 1/3 is particularly suspenseful and satisfying and ultimately quite moving. Immediately after turning the final page, I missed Lee and wanted to start all over again.
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  • Louise Miller
    January 1, 1970
    This is truly an extraordinary novel. From the first scene to the last, I fell into my own passionate love affair with this book--I found myself always wanting to be reading it, and pining for it when I had to set it down, thinking about the characters and the lushness of the details as I fell asleep. Scharer has a visual artists eye for detail, an ear for lyrical prose, and a huge empathetic heart. I can't wait to share it with everyone I know.
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  • Book of the Month
    January 1, 1970
    Why I love itby Taylor Jenkins ReidThe Age of Light had me at “a love affair between real-life photographers Lee Miller and Man Ray.” But when I learned it's also the story of a woman who moves beyond muse to artist, I all but threw myself at it and yelled, "Take my money!" I'm a sucker for a woman demanding to be heard.When Lee Miller arrives in 1930s Paris, she's determined to put her successful modeling career behind her and go behind the lens. Soon, she meets Surrealist artist Man Ray and co Why I love itby Taylor Jenkins ReidThe Age of Light had me at “a love affair between real-life photographers Lee Miller and Man Ray.” But when I learned it's also the story of a woman who moves beyond muse to artist, I all but threw myself at it and yelled, "Take my money!" I'm a sucker for a woman demanding to be heard.When Lee Miller arrives in 1930s Paris, she's determined to put her successful modeling career behind her and go behind the lens. Soon, she meets Surrealist artist Man Ray and convinces him to make her not his subject, but his assistant. As the two work closely together, Lee finds her voice as a photographer. Slowly, they fall in love, but quickly, the lines of their relationship blur. Is she his muse or partner? Are they faithful or not? Where does one person end and the other begin?I never knew just how sensual developing film could be until Lee Miller and Man Ray got into that dark room. And while Man comes to life on the page as a vulnerable and possessive figure, it’s Lee—her tenacity, confidence, and passion for beauty—who steals the show. Her relationship to her body—her understanding of her own beauty, her fearless lust and brazen sexuality—creates some of the most captivating moments of the story. Lee Miller’s time in Paris and how it echoes through the rest of her life is a story I won’t soon forget. I suspect you won’t either.Read more at: https://bookofthemonth.com/the-age-of...
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  • Liz
    January 1, 1970
    I am lucky enough to have read a preview copy of "The Age of Light". Whitney is an amazing first-time published author. This book was a delight to read and I could barely put it down. It contains the joie de live of an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel and the artistic intensity of Frieda Kahlo. Lee Miller is a perfect character and pulls you in to her story. Other books would have portrayed her as the woman behind the man, but this story proves how compelling, smart, creative and so very imperfect Lee I am lucky enough to have read a preview copy of "The Age of Light". Whitney is an amazing first-time published author. This book was a delight to read and I could barely put it down. It contains the joie de live of an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel and the artistic intensity of Frieda Kahlo. Lee Miller is a perfect character and pulls you in to her story. Other books would have portrayed her as the woman behind the man, but this story proves how compelling, smart, creative and so very imperfect Lee Miller was. Whitney has the power to create an image of art I have never really experienced before in a novel. You can practically see her bell jar series or her WW II photography hanging on the wall in front of you. Plus, girlfriend can write the hell out of a love scene. Lee embodies the power of female sexual desire and the way that men fear it & want to control it. I can't wait for others to be able to read it so we can share cocktails and talk about all things Lee Miller.
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  • Mary Urban
    January 1, 1970
    An evocative historical fiction that swiftly whisks you away to the beautiful melancholy of the 1930s Paris art world. A woman's voice and her place in art and relationships are at the center of this novel, a contemporary theme among a historical setting. The Age of Light absolutely drips in style; enjoy rubbing elbows with Picasso, Cocteau, and, of course, the tumultuous and intoxicating Man Ray in secret salons and on dimly lit cafe boats. Note that Lee Miller is a real historical figure with An evocative historical fiction that swiftly whisks you away to the beautiful melancholy of the 1930s Paris art world. A woman's voice and her place in art and relationships are at the center of this novel, a contemporary theme among a historical setting. The Age of Light absolutely drips in style; enjoy rubbing elbows with Picasso, Cocteau, and, of course, the tumultuous and intoxicating Man Ray in secret salons and on dimly lit cafe boats. Note that Lee Miller is a real historical figure with a truly extraordinary life; this gorgeously written fiction brings her brilliance to light.
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  • Stella
    January 1, 1970
    Loved every line of it...
  • Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
    January 1, 1970
    I knew nothing about either Lee Miller or Man Ray before I read this book. However, I was absolutely fascinated by this story. Several times during the time I listened to the audio version of the book did I have to take a break to google both Lee Miller Man Ray for their art. Now, I had an ecopy of this book, but I decided to listen to the audio version during work. However, I couldn't stop listening and start reading when I got home. The narrator, Therese Plummer did such an excellent work tha I knew nothing about either Lee Miller or Man Ray before I read this book. However, I was absolutely fascinated by this story. Several times during the time I listened to the audio version of the book did I have to take a break to google both Lee Miller Man Ray for their art. Now, I had an ecopy of this book, but I decided to listen to the audio version during work. However, I couldn't stop listening and start reading when I got home. The narrator, Therese Plummer did such an excellent work that I just couldn't stop listening to her telling the story about Lee and Man. I have a favorite scene from the narrator, and it's when Lee and Man are in the darkroom for the first time and you can really feel the tension between them. Listening to the scene (and other intense scenes) is just, in my opinion, even better than reading them when the narrator does such a good job as with this book.It's so easy to forget that this is just fiction (based on facts) when you read this book. The characters come to life in a way that makes you think that this is all true. Like there was a stenographer there all the time writing down everything that happened and was said. That's how I felt listening to the book. Like I was a fly on the way witness all that happened. In the end, I just want to say that this is an absolutely fantastic book! And I recommend it warmly. Read it, listen to it. Do what feels best for you!
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  • Ygraine
    January 1, 1970
    i come away from the age of light with a bitter, almost metallic feeling coating my throat; it is, i think, a hard book to read at times, and one that is consciously uncomfortable, creating a distance between itself and the reader that it is hard not to imagine as a lens, the glass through which scharer invites us to look and see a place and characters slightly dislocated from reality, upside down in the viewfinder.it is a fictionalised account of lee miller, her time spent being mentored by, in i come away from the age of light with a bitter, almost metallic feeling coating my throat; it is, i think, a hard book to read at times, and one that is consciously uncomfortable, creating a distance between itself and the reader that it is hard not to imagine as a lens, the glass through which scharer invites us to look and see a place and characters slightly dislocated from reality, upside down in the viewfinder.it is a fictionalised account of lee miller, her time spent being mentored by, in partnership with, and lover to artist man ray, her experience of moving in the social and creative circles of the surrealist movement, her role in the invention and development of a new technique for developing film, her growth and self-assertion as an artist and her difficulty in being identified as a creator in her own right; juxtaposed against this narrative are fragments of her later life as a war journalist during the second world war, the often devastating moments in history she experienced, captured and shared. and structurally, the age of light is handled deftly. the primary narrative, miller's time in paris, is almost cinematic in its fluid movement between the intensity of specific interactions, 'scenes' of particular emotional significance, and the more atmospheric passages, the impression of miller's everyday experience. the secondary narrative, becomes jarring, almost sickening, in comparison, the intrusion of the brutal, the unspeakable, the repulsive into the languid forward flow of the paris narrative. this is effective, and i felt it working on me.but i think it is incredibly hard to read the perspective of a narrator so thoroughly alienated from herself, so eroded by the desires, demands and hypocrisies of the men around whom her life and identity seem to have formed. it's not at all that i think scharer has accidentally created a claustrophobic, uncomfortable novel with a woman at its centre so incapable of her own anger that it manifests in jealousy, in a sort of vitriolic hatred of other women and their ugliness, their perceived jealousy and dislike for her, in a need to be visible to and desired by men. i think it is very much a mirror, if a little warped, held to the reality of being a woman at the peripheries of a movement so dominated by ego and a masculine conception of genius. it's just that i, specifically, found myself feeling hollow by the end, angry and frustrated because miller as scharer has re-created her is almost too real, a woman so thoroughly knotted up in trauma that resolution feels - and maybe is - impossible.i received an advanced reader's copy of this book courtesy of netgalley and picador in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Rachael Burrows
    January 1, 1970
    Great and informative read!
  • Fidan Lurin
    January 1, 1970
    I was recently sent an ARC of The Age of Light by the publicists at Little, Brown and Company in exchange for an honest review. This work of historical fiction by Whitney Scharer is expected to be published on February 05, 2019.The Age of Light is a captivating and exhilarating narrative that keeps readers emotionally invested up to the very last page. Masquerading as historical fiction, the novel recounts the life of Vogue model turned photographer, Lee Miller and her relationship with Man Ray, I was recently sent an ARC of The Age of Light by the publicists at Little, Brown and Company in exchange for an honest review. This work of historical fiction by Whitney Scharer is expected to be published on February 05, 2019.The Age of Light is a captivating and exhilarating narrative that keeps readers emotionally invested up to the very last page. Masquerading as historical fiction, the novel recounts the life of Vogue model turned photographer, Lee Miller and her relationship with Man Ray, one of the most influential figures of the Dada and Surrealists movements ensuing Paris in the 1930s. In incandescent prose debut writer, Whitney Scharer creates a female empowering tale of a heroine’s journey away from home to discover her passion, her independence, and her art. The story unravels under the glamour and melancholy of Paris amidst the changes resulting from World War II and its lingering stench on much of Europe with a young woman’s determination to transform herself from subject of art to creator of art.In 1966 Lee is a middle-aged woman who occupies her time preparing elaborate ten-course meals and writing cooking articles for Vogue. She lives on a farm in Sussex, England with her husband, Roland. Day after day, she feels her life droning on with little excitement. Her life is shaken once more when her editor, Audrey wakes Lee up from her dull slumber and requests for her to write a piece for Vogue about her years with Man Ray. Audrey wants Lee’s story to be romantic, like a fairy tale, but Lee ultimately decides to tell the real story: “the one where she loved a man and he loved her, but in the end they took everything from each other – who can say who was more destroyed?” So begins the story of a woman who loved a man and he loved her, but in the end, they took love away from each other and are both left destroyed.Paris 1929 begins the heart of a vividly detailed chronicle of a professional mentorship and friendship that quickly spirals into a toxic love affair, augmenting a prolific period of creation as Lee and Man Ray become each other’s whim. Devoured by the decadence of Paris and the bohemian lifestyle – in smoky salons, hidden speakeasies, and dimly lit cafes, the reader is drawn into a tumultuous and provocative period of Lee’s life.From Lee, Man finds inspiration in his primary passion as a painter. From Man, Lee learns to become the photographer as opposed to the one being photographed. Surrounded by the money patrons of the elite, the Avant-Garde thinkers, and the bourgeois flaneurs, the novel’s plot is propelled by vignettes sensually detailed, producing a fascinating illustration of Paris during its rise to modernity.The cast of characters that Lee and Ray cross paths with creates a voyeuristic window through which the sexuality of Lee and Man are revealed and become increasingly questionable. Haunted by a troubled relationship with her father that leads her to struggle with PTSD, and the introduction of a new male figure in her life, Lee’s perceptions of this new artsy world become dismantled and reconstructed as she perpetually tries to reconcile an unhealthy past of abuse, rape, depression, and alcoholism.The Age of Light is an illuminating novel of the hope and effervescence that underlies a young woman’s journey of self-transformation. Lee’s life is trapped as a muse behind a camera lens from multiple figures who seek to capitalize on her beauty for personal benefits. Lee reclaims her essence, and creates her own art, identity and blooming success. This novel is a vivid and raw portrayal of a woman who struggles between art and creating art, and the torturous struggle of achieving both.
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  • BookGypsy
    January 1, 1970
    Lee Miller is a Vogue model turned photographer. She meets and falls in love with the famous Man Ray in 1930' Paris. Haunted by her past Lee is charmed by the remarkable Man Ray. As lee's career starts to rise Man Ray becomes jealous and things take a turn. This is at times very sexually explicit. Very bohemian in nature. I loved it! I was compelled it. The setting being Paris, the whole artsy feel of it. The characters were feelable. Can't say enough how good this is. I just loved it!I was give Lee Miller is a Vogue model turned photographer. She meets and falls in love with the famous Man Ray in 1930' Paris. Haunted by her past Lee is charmed by the remarkable Man Ray. As lee's career starts to rise Man Ray becomes jealous and things take a turn. This is at times very sexually explicit. Very bohemian in nature. I loved it! I was compelled it. The setting being Paris, the whole artsy feel of it. The characters were feelable. Can't say enough how good this is. I just loved it!I was given this advanced read from Net Galley for an honest review.Dawn Ruby-BookGypsyNovels N Latte Book BlogNovels & Latte Book ClubHudson Valley NY
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  • Karen LeBlanc
    January 1, 1970
    The Age of Light by Whitney Scharer chronicles in historical fiction the love affair between a former model turned photographer Lee Miller and the famed photographer Man Ray, an influential force in the Dada and Surrealist movements rooted in Paris in the 1930s.We first meet Lee in 1966 as a puffy middle-aged woman prone to drinking whiskey and dulled by the monotony of her marriage and life on a farm on Sussex England. At midlife, Lee has settled for a meh marriage and an unfulfilling but stead The Age of Light by Whitney Scharer chronicles in historical fiction the love affair between a former model turned photographer Lee Miller and the famed photographer Man Ray, an influential force in the Dada and Surrealist movements rooted in Paris in the 1930s.We first meet Lee in 1966 as a puffy middle-aged woman prone to drinking whiskey and dulled by the monotony of her marriage and life on a farm on Sussex England. At midlife, Lee has settled for a meh marriage and an unfulfilling but steady job writing cooking articles for Vogue as the magazine’s domestic correspondent, the same magazine where she once was the cover model. Lee’s life is a far cry from the passionate adventurous years of her youth as the lover of Man Ray and later a war photographer.Midlife malaise has set in and is seeping through her every fiber. As the author writes of her current state: “There is so much more that’s making her angry that the stranger who greets her in the mirror each morning, burst blood vessels blooming across her puffy face.” The quality of Lee’s writing has thinned along with her drive and enthusiasm to remain the domestic correspondent. Lee is stuck:“But she knows her writing is still good. Her photos are still good. Or they would be if she could do them if she could shrug off the stultifying sadness that she pulls around with her like a heavy cape.”In an effort wake Lee from her sleepwalking slumber professionally and personally, and salvage her writing career at Vogue, her editor Audrey and her husband Roland want Lee to write a piece for Vogue about her years with Man Ray suggesting it would do her good to have a big project to focus on. Lee has no choice to acquiesce to this thinly veiled threat: if Lee refuses to write the article, she is finished at Vogue. So begins the story she chooses to tell: “If you tell something enough times it becomes true, just the way a photograph can trick you into thinking it’s a memory.”Or as the author states: “Lee could tell the real story: the one where she loved a man and he loved her, but in the end, they took everything from each other—who can say who was more destroyed? It’s the story that she’s locked up tight inside herself.”Thus the heart of the novel begins in 1929 Paris as we witness in vivid detail the friendship and professional mentorship that turned into a passionate love affair fueling a prolific period of art and creativity in Lee and Man Ray’s lives, as each becomes the other’s muse.Lee and Man Ray bring out the best of each other for a while. He is inspired to paint, his primary artistic passion. Lee learns to become an accomplished photographer in her own right. Their relationship and professional lives bloom amid the backdrop of 1930s Paris, and the creative class of literati, moneyed patrons, artistic outliers and the Avant-guard providing plenty of fascinating fodder for vignettes and encounters that propel the book’s plot.The eccentric characters who cross the path of Lee and Man Ray offer a voyeuristic window into the sexually fluid society that left Lee perpetually questioning Man Ray’s own sexuality while she struggles to reconcile with her unhealthy relationship with her father.The author writes each chapter as cinematic scenes where I could easily envision the action and setting playing out in real time. The sensory detail, the dialog, and the characterization work in perfect sync to immerse the reader in a time, place and creative ethos that produced some of the early 20th Century’s most noted artists.Lee Miller has been a muse her entire life: for her father; countless fashion photographers; Man Ray; even own husband, Roland, who seeks to capitalize on his wife’s rarefied artistic connections. What’s left for Lee to claim as her own, when her very essence is the source of everyone else’s art and success? The author’s debut novel, The Age of Light, is an engrossing read with profound subtexts about beauty, love, art and the tortured struggle to be both muse and master of your art.
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  • Krista
    January 1, 1970
    The Age of Light is one of those books that says with you long after you've finished it. The story follows beautiful model Lee Miller as she moves from NYC to Paris and reinvents herself as a photographer. She meets Man Ray, already a successful artist and photographer, and they embark on the kind of love affair that defines one's life. Lee is Man Ray's lover, partner, protege and overall muse and their relationship plays out on the pages , drawing the reader in. I had no idea I was reading abou The Age of Light is one of those books that says with you long after you've finished it. The story follows beautiful model Lee Miller as she moves from NYC to Paris and reinvents herself as a photographer. She meets Man Ray, already a successful artist and photographer, and they embark on the kind of love affair that defines one's life. Lee is Man Ray's lover, partner, protege and overall muse and their relationship plays out on the pages , drawing the reader in. I had no idea I was reading about 2 real people and as soon as I finished the book and googled them I was fascinated all over again.The beauty of this book is hard to put into words. It's not a light read--it's the kind of book that each sentence, each moment, is crafted so beautifully that you'll want to slow down and savor it all. It's literary fiction at its best. Lee and Man are extremely well drawn and even though both of them are a bit unlikeable sometimes, as a reader, I was completely along for the ride --wherever it was taking me. The end of the 1920s part of the book did not disappoint, and I also appreciated the way the epilogue completed the story. The only thing that was somewhat out of place, were the parts at the end of each section that followed Lee through Europe during and after WWII. I understand what the scenes were meant to show about Lee, but to me, the were completely unnecessary. Overall, this was a captivating piece of historical fiction that I can't get out of my head!Thank you NetGally for the advance copy!
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    Sensuous writing dripping with period set details from salons to cabarets, seedy lounges and absinthe dens, Whitney Scharer's The Age of Light is the fictionalized account of the love affair between Lee Miller and Man Ray, interlaced with brief chapters from Miller's time as a war photographer. The third person present narration gives each scene immediacy unshackled from traditional historical fiction. Scharer's smooth, unabashed writing style matches perfectly with Miller's story as she goes fr Sensuous writing dripping with period set details from salons to cabarets, seedy lounges and absinthe dens, Whitney Scharer's The Age of Light is the fictionalized account of the love affair between Lee Miller and Man Ray, interlaced with brief chapters from Miller's time as a war photographer. The third person present narration gives each scene immediacy unshackled from traditional historical fiction. Scharer's smooth, unabashed writing style matches perfectly with Miller's story as she goes from apprentice to muse to lover and to artist in 1930s Paris.
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  • Vivian Payton
    January 1, 1970
    In this beautifully written debut novel by Whitney Sharer, THE AGE OF LIGHT transports readers to Paris in the 1930’s and Europe during World War II when Man Ray and Lee Miller meet. Lee is a successful model whose father used to photograph her when she was young and taught her some basics of the trade. At the age of 22, she meets Man Ray, a successful and renowned artist and photographer, who she begins to work for him as his assistant. As they collaborate together, they discover new techniques In this beautifully written debut novel by Whitney Sharer, THE AGE OF LIGHT transports readers to Paris in the 1930’s and Europe during World War II when Man Ray and Lee Miller meet. Lee is a successful model whose father used to photograph her when she was young and taught her some basics of the trade. At the age of 22, she meets Man Ray, a successful and renowned artist and photographer, who she begins to work for him as his assistant. As they collaborate together, they discover new techniques in the photography field, but all Lee wants is to become successful herself and be recognized for her creative side. Their love of photography and working relationship blossoms into love, but Man’s jealousy and Lee’s personality cause their sensual relationship to clash and spiral infusing anger. I loved Sharer’s writing. She has a distinct way with words, and there is so much substance in them. For instance, I loved this quote, “Her anger is like the cellulose fire: it cannot be extinguished.” And this quote sums up Lee’s own anguish describing herself, “She could tell him that she doesn’t know who she is, that she never has, that sometimes she just feels like an empty vessel to be filled by whoever she is with or whatever she is doing.” Sharer captivates the reader with her words, and her descriptions are so vivid. I enjoyed her novel, and highly recommend it.
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  • Katherine Riley
    January 1, 1970
    The Age of Light is like a book of life condensed to its essentials. Meticulously researched, there is little it does not contain. Now that it’s over, I find myself still thinking about Lee a lot, not just the woman or the artist but both, in the larger context of womanhood and artistry and love. When it began, I was aware of the praise it has garnered as a fantastic Parisian love story, and so was frankly shocked to meet a woman who perceives herself as old and fat and ugly, who can’t make art The Age of Light is like a book of life condensed to its essentials. Meticulously researched, there is little it does not contain. Now that it’s over, I find myself still thinking about Lee a lot, not just the woman or the artist but both, in the larger context of womanhood and artistry and love. When it began, I was aware of the praise it has garnered as a fantastic Parisian love story, and so was frankly shocked to meet a woman who perceives herself as old and fat and ugly, who can’t make art anymore, who is a hardcore drunkard, the serious Bukowski kind. Slowly then, from this portrayal of a woman artist as utterly fallen, rose not a hero, but rather an anti-hero. A woman and artist forced by the intrinsic inequality of her intimate relationships into the role of villain, victim. It took me until after the book was over to finally understand her in all these different ways. To see this book not only as a great love affair and a portrait of an artist, but also as a great and lingering social tragedy, that in her time Lee was forced to choose between love and art, and lost both.
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  • Thebooktrail
    January 1, 1970
    Visit the locations in the novelI have to admit that before reading this novel I had never heard of Lee Miller and had only heard of Man Ray in passing. Well this was an eye opener! If you’re an art fan, you’re going to be able to indulge in this pretty early on, but although it took me a little longer, it didn’t read like a debut!The nuances, shades of light and dark of the Paris art world are captured like literary photographs on every page. The story of how two such iconic figures of the art Visit the locations in the novelI have to admit that before reading this novel I had never heard of Lee Miller and had only heard of Man Ray in passing. Well this was an eye opener! If you’re an art fan, you’re going to be able to indulge in this pretty early on, but although it took me a little longer, it didn’t read like a debut!The nuances, shades of light and dark of the Paris art world are captured like literary photographs on every page. The story of how two such iconic figures of the art world met, fell in love and then separated allows the author to draw the reader across Paris. We follow them through the atmospheric streets to the artistic corners of the city from the parks and pubs to the bars. It’s all very French, and the mentions of the food, drinks, chats in the corner are all very arty and apt for the time and setting.What jolted me out of the story was the graphic sex scenes and in a lesser way, a little niggle was the use of Man’s name as it sounded like “Man did this whilst woman did something else”. Just me I know, it was his name after all, but it made the text read very strange at some points.Oh but to be transported to the silken lusciousness of Paris and the artists of the time. Picasso and all the greats are there, some emerging artists too and all on the backdrop of the Second World War. I would have liked to have read more about this thread if I’m honest but I suppose that would be another book in itself.I do think there should be a mention of Man Ray and Lee Miller at the start of the book as you would read it differently and appreciate it more. Or maybe that’s just my small knowledge of the art world coming through. Lee Miller says “I’d rather take a picture than be one.” That’s the thing about this book- it’s all so visual and you do get a very good picture of both Lee and Man.
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  • Patricia Romero
    January 1, 1970
    A captivating debut about Vogue model turned renowned photographer Lee Miller, and her passionate affair with the artist Man Ray in 1930s Paris.When Lee Miller comes to Paris in 1929 she wants nothing more than to create a new life. She is tired of being the one in front of the camera and wants to be the one taking photographs. Lee had a rather abusive childhood which is alluded to but I would have liked to have heard more about it. It led her to make some bad life choices. When she is introduce A captivating debut about Vogue model turned renowned photographer Lee Miller, and her passionate affair with the artist Man Ray in 1930s Paris.When Lee Miller comes to Paris in 1929 she wants nothing more than to create a new life. She is tired of being the one in front of the camera and wants to be the one taking photographs. Lee had a rather abusive childhood which is alluded to but I would have liked to have heard more about it. It led her to make some bad life choices. When she is introduced to the famous Man Ray, they immediately have a connection. At first,he wants her to model for him but they get into an intense and not that healthy relationship.The story is told between timelines and is rich in detail and full of all the horrors of war and the debauchery of Paris at that time. Opium dens, erotic vaudeville, multiple lovers.After betrayals on both side you have a feeling this isn't going to work out. He is egotistical and condescending and she is emotionally messed up.I enjoyed reading about these two. I would have enjoyed it more if there were fewer words. I found myself wanting it to be over.Great story, just a lot wordy.February 5th 2019 by Little, Brown and Company/Netgalley
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  • Julie Greb
    January 1, 1970
    I am a fan of literary fiction, especially books with incredible character building. This book was right up my alley. The story follows a former Vogue model turned wannabe photographer Lee Miller, as she moves to Paris to follow her dream of becoming an artist. Miller stumbles upon the hip Parisian boho party scene and ends up meeting artist Man Ray. She becomes Ray's muse, then his lover, and then his creative partner. The book follows this period of Miller's life and paints a portrait of Paris I am a fan of literary fiction, especially books with incredible character building. This book was right up my alley. The story follows a former Vogue model turned wannabe photographer Lee Miller, as she moves to Paris to follow her dream of becoming an artist. Miller stumbles upon the hip Parisian boho party scene and ends up meeting artist Man Ray. She becomes Ray's muse, then his lover, and then his creative partner. The book follows this period of Miller's life and paints a portrait of Paris at this time. The main narrative thread of the book does some time hopping to other periods of Miller's life, which helps put the story of your life in context. The author pulls this off effortlessly; the book is so very well written. If you are fans of Wolitzer, Patchett, Tartt, Lamott, etc... then I highly recommend this novel.
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  • Julie Langsdorf
    January 1, 1970
    What a beautiful novel! Scharer takes the reader back to Paris in the twenties, an era exploding with innovation and creativity, as seen through the eyes of the fascinating (and gorgeous) Lee Miller. She evokes the woman and the time in sensual and poetic prose, following Miller, then a fashion model, as she arrives in Paris with dreams of becoming a photographer at a time when women, no matter how talented, were the muses and men, the artists. Scharer gives equal weight to the beauty and pain i What a beautiful novel! Scharer takes the reader back to Paris in the twenties, an era exploding with innovation and creativity, as seen through the eyes of the fascinating (and gorgeous) Lee Miller. She evokes the woman and the time in sensual and poetic prose, following Miller, then a fashion model, as she arrives in Paris with dreams of becoming a photographer at a time when women, no matter how talented, were the muses and men, the artists. Scharer gives equal weight to the beauty and pain in Miller’s life—there was plenty of pain—as Miller, determined, struggles to become the artist she is really meant to be. Don’t miss this one when it comes out in Februrary!
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  • Lindsay Lamping
    January 1, 1970
    This book is amazing! A coming of age, mixed with love story, mixed with betrayal. It has a little bit of everything that will keep you intrigued until the very end! Whitney Scharer's writing is superb! She captivates the reader from the very beginning. The story switches back and forth between present and past to help you gain an understanding of the character's in their entirety. The main character, Lee, is complex and I feel that many can relate to her on some level. This book is must read to This book is amazing! A coming of age, mixed with love story, mixed with betrayal. It has a little bit of everything that will keep you intrigued until the very end! Whitney Scharer's writing is superb! She captivates the reader from the very beginning. The story switches back and forth between present and past to help you gain an understanding of the character's in their entirety. The main character, Lee, is complex and I feel that many can relate to her on some level. This book is must read to add to you TBR piles!
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  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    Lee Miller sucked me in. Scharer expertly portrays her life in broad glamorous strokes complete with Gatsby-style parties and towering luminaries such as Cocteau. I devoured it all – including the explosive love scenes – but these broad strokes were not what really grabbed me. What moved me to love this book was the underlying tension of Lee’s traumatic past that sat boiling below her every decision and had her self-destructing at almost every turn. Read this book!
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  • Mary
    January 1, 1970
    Excellent historical novel set in Paris in the 1920-1930 artistic era.
  • Julia Phillips
    January 1, 1970
    THE AGE OF LIGHT is magnificent. Following photographer Lee Miller from her childhood in Poughkeepsie to her blossoming as a young artist and lover in 1929-1932 Paris to her experiences as a war correspondent during World War II to her retreat from the spotlight to a farm house in Sussex, this novel transforms an underappreciated historical figure into an absolutely captivating fictional heroine. The novel brings Lee to new life. We readers come to know her intimately, in her desires, her trauma THE AGE OF LIGHT is magnificent. Following photographer Lee Miller from her childhood in Poughkeepsie to her blossoming as a young artist and lover in 1929-1932 Paris to her experiences as a war correspondent during World War II to her retreat from the spotlight to a farm house in Sussex, this novel transforms an underappreciated historical figure into an absolutely captivating fictional heroine. The novel brings Lee to new life. We readers come to know her intimately, in her desires, her traumas, her ambitions, her fears. We learn to love and hate Man Ray, her partner in Paris, as much as she does, for all his talent, generosity, and patriarchy. We adore all that Lee Miller created even as we are sorry for so many of the circumstances under which she made her art. THE AGE OF LIGHT is both an unputdownable work of fiction and an incredible entry point into history – I can't recommend it enough.
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