Whitney Scharer graduated with a BA in English Literature from Wesleyan University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington. The Age of Light is her first novel. The Age of Light was recognized on numerous Best Books of 2019 lists including Yahoo, Parade and Glamour magazine. Her short fiction has appeared in journals including Vogue, and Bellevue Literary Review. She lives with her husband and daughter in Arlington, MA.
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BOOK REVIEW AND INTERVIEW WITH WHITNEY SCHARER
Life of Photographer Lee Miller Illuminated in “The Age of Light”
February 19, 2019 Robin Young
“I was initially drawn to her confidence and ambition. I just found her to be this incredibly modern woman," Scharer says. "But as I learned about her, what I was most taken with, was this fragility that was underneath the surface of her confidence, that came from all of these traumas that she endured in childhood and all of the subsequent objectification by men — her father, fashion photographers, Man Ray, and that I think is what makes her such a complex and interesting character." Read more…
NiGHTSTAND READS - on the blog
is reading The Age of Light by Whitney Scharer for March Book Club.
The Age of Light by Whitney Scharer tells the story of Lee Miller during her time working at Vogue Magazine and her tumultuous relationship with Man Ray, the artist. The story begins at Lee Miller’s home, Farley Farm in Sussex, England in 1966. She recounts her life in flashbacks between Paris in late 1920s through the early 1930s and during the 1940s war torn London. Miller is an independent accomplished woman, who in 1966 still struggles to get out from Man Ray’s shadow. Their time together as a couple was short, a mere three years but the connection between the two lasted a lifetime.
Miller’s first encounter with Man Ray speaks volumes. She has unintentionally found herself in an opium den intoxicated and disoriented. She is trying to find her way out of the situation, when Man Ray offers to help her leave.
“It’s all right,” he [Man Ray] says. “You’re fine. I’m sorry he scared you.”
“I am not scared. I just want to leave.”
“I understand. If you ever need anything, you can look me up. I’m Man Ray.”
The pomposity of his statement – not “My name is Man Ray,” but “I’m Man Ray,” as if there isn’t a chance in the world, she wouldn’t know of him – astounds her.
Of course, she knows him. She refuses his help. Later she chastises herself because she was too embarrassed to do anything except run away.
Shortly thereafter, they begin their relationship. She asks for photography lessons and he gives her a job as his assistant. Soon they become inseparable. She is 22 and he is 40.
I am very excited to share the news, this book club will be virtual. Stay tuned for details.
Phillip Prodger, curator of the exhibit, and Miller's son, Antony Penrose, speak with NPR's Jacki Lyden about Miller and Ray's passionate relationship — and the love that bound them together and inspired their work. More...
Man Ray Portraits: Lee Miller's house by Antony Penrose, Co-Director Lee Miller Archives
““I love historical fiction, but I don’t love the portrayal of women as these passive wilting flowers,” Scharer tells me. “You can’t write that book about Lee Miller because that’s not who she was.” Though centered on Miller and Man Ray’s relationship, The Age of Light digs deeper into Man Ray’s infatuation with Miller, the way “this big, successful, egotistical guy [was] so undone by a woman.”
Debut Novelist, Whitney Scharer's Million Dollar Book Deal
The Fictional Cafe, January 30, 2018, Rachel Allen
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