Mary Coin, Marisa Silver


Dorothea Lange's Migrant Mother, left, is the jumping off point for Marisa Silver's novel examining the way images persist and interact with history.

Silver weaves three narratives---that of the photographer, the migrant mother, and a professor---together masterfully. But just as entrancing as the arc of the story itself is Silver's writing, reflective and revealing and beautifully strung together. She offers new ways of looking at history, emphasizing the importance of critically examining our world. Perhaps the inquisitiveness of the professor character best demonstrates this:

He doesn’t know what the project will ultimately yield. He doesn’t want to know. Not now. Because answers are inert things that stop inquiry. They make you think you have finished looking. But you are never finished. There are always discoveries that will turn everything you think you know on its head and that will make you ask all over again: Who are we?