The Age of Light
‘Scharer captures the thrill of artistic creation and the swirling hedonism of Paris’s beautiful people.’ The Times
Model. Muse. Lover. Artist.
‘I’d rather take a picture than be one,’ Lee Miller declares, as she arrives in Paris one cool day in 1929. Lee has left behind her life in New York and a successful modelling career at Vogue to pursue her dream of becoming a photographer. She soon catches the eye of renowned Surrealist artist Man Ray and convinces him to hire her as his assistant. Man is an egotistical, charismatic force, and as Lee becomes both his muse and his protege, they embark upon a passionate affair.
Lee and Man spend their days working closely in the studio and their nights at smoky cabarets, opium dens and wild parties. But as Lee begins to assert herself, and to create pioneering work of her own, Man’s jealousy spirals out of control, and leads to a betrayal that threatens to destroy them both . . .
Transporting us from bohemian Paris to the battlefields of WWII, The Age of Light is a powerful and intoxicating story about love, obsession and the personal price of ambition. Based on the incredible true story, in her debut novel Whitney Scharer brings a brilliant and revolutionary artist out of the shadow of a man’s legacy, and into the light.
‘Whitney Scharer’s storytelling is utterly immersive and gorgeous in its details . . . powerful, sensual and gripping.’ Madeleine Miller, author of Circe
Scharer sets her viewfinder selectively, focusing on her heroine's insecurities as much as her accomplishments as an artist; her hunger to be more than "a neck to hold pearls, a slim waist to show off a belt" is contrasted with her habit of solving problems by simply leaving. The price for Lee is steep, but it makes for irresistible reading. Sexy and moving. * Kirkus * Scharer's stellar debut chronicles the tumultuous working and romantic relationships of photographer Man Ray and model-turned-photographer Lee Miller in early 1930s Paris. Scharer's brilliant portrayal of the complicated couple features a page-turning story and thrillingly depicts the artistic process. * Publishers Weekly * Intoxicating . . . Scharer is always alert to the interplay of passion, intelligence, exhilaration, bitterness, and melancholy that fueled this unique woman to create a life of her own. The object of an intense bidding war that resulted in a million-dollar deal, Scharer's first novel more than lives up to its prepublication hype. * Booklist * I adored The Age of Light. A stunning debut - fascinating, evocative and beautifully written. I loved it. -- Jill Mansell From the opium dens of Paris to Man Ray's darkroom The Age of Light is drawn with the exactness of a photograph. I was awed by the skill with which Scharer portrayed Lee's defiance and ambition. The Age of Light is mesmerising, beautifully written and deeply convincing. I loved it. -- Elizabeth Macneal, author of The Doll Factory It's a deliciously chic feminist take on a legend * Grazia * A gorgeous evocation of the life of Lee Miller. The prose is stunning, the settings perfect - this is the woman that the work only hinted at. Absolutely breathtaking -- Emma Flint, author of Little Deaths Scharer . . . conjures Paris of the Thirties - whether artists' studios, seedy dives or glamorous parties - with the deftest of brush strokes. * Daily Mail * A dazzling novel of decadence, passion, art and betrayal . . . I adored it. -- Lucy Diamond This wonderful novel is a sensory, sensual feast: a passionate love story, a clear-eyed examination of an artist's life, and an evocation of the ways people can make and break each other -- Kiran Milwood Hargrave, award-winning author of The Girl of Ink and Stars This novel shows how [Lee Miller] transcended the male-accessory role and casts her in a new light as the protagonist of her own independent, ambitious life. Fans of Mrs Hemingway and The Paris Wife will love this one. * Elle * Rapturous and razor sharp all at once, The Age of Light fearlessly unzips anything we might know of Lee Miller as model and muse and recasts her as artist, free thinker and architect of a singular and unapologetic life. Whitney Scharer is a stunning new discovery. This novel sparks on every page. -- Paula McLain, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Wife Transporting you into Lee Miller's life, and her struggles to be taken seriously in a man's world. This is a powerful, sensual and gripping portrait of the forging of an artist's soul. -- Madeline Miller, New York Times bestselling author of Circe I adored this novel. It's sumptuous and enveloping and beautifully told . . . I can't believe this is a debut novel - it is so wonderfully assured. Stunning. -- Laura Barnett, author of The Versions of Us 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. -- Celeste Ng, New York Times bestselling author of Little Fires Everywhere Scharer captures the thrill of artistic creation and the swirling hedonism of Paris's beautiful people. * The Times *
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