Generation Loss by Elizabeth Hand

Elizabeth Hand is one of the finest writers that we have. Her body of work has mainly consisted of SF/F but last year she wrote a mystery/psychlogical/thriller/dark/noir-ish novel called Generation Loss. It recieved a good amount of attention in print and in the Sf/F community but seems to have gone unnoticed in the mystery/crime fiction community.

Here is the synopsis:

Cass Neary made her name in the 1970s as a photographer embedded in the burgeoning punk movement in New York City. Her pictures of the musicians and hangers on, the infamous, the damned, and the dead, got her into art galleries and a book deal. But thirty years later she is adrift, on her way down, and almost out. Then an old acquaintance sends her on a mercy gig to interview a famously reclusive photographer who lives on an island in Maine. When she arrives Downeast, Cass stumbles across a decades-old mystery that is still claiming victims, and into one final shot at redemption.

This is a beautifully written and moving book that becomes, in part, a meditation on the relationship between the artist and the work that they produce. The desolate locale and the eccentric ctizens are vividly portrayed and Cass becomes a complex, varied and interesting protagonist. Her journey is quite extraordinary as she is so emotionally vacuous 30 years after her 15 seconds of fame that it takes the magnitude of losing someone she pretended wasn't close to her but really was on 9/11 for her to even feel the slightest emotion and thus start even slightly connectiong with humanity again.

This was one of my favorite books from last year and the trade paperback is now out so I hope you'll give it a try.

Here is the first chapter

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Comment by Patricia Abbott on May 3, 2008 at 2:34am
Brian-Thanks for playing again and a wonderful suggestion for me as I am trying to write (or have written) a book about a female photographer. Thanks!

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