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The Lost Glass Plates of Wilfred Eng

Orton, Thomas

Verlag: Counterpoint, Washington, D.C., U.S.A., 1999
ISBN 10: 1582430233 / ISBN 13: 9781582430232
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Bibliografische Details

Titel: The Lost Glass Plates of Wilfred Eng

Verlag: Counterpoint, Washington, D.C., U.S.A.

Erscheinungsdatum: 1999

Einband: Hardcover

Zustand: Fine

Zustand des Schutzumschlags: Near fine

Auflage: First Edition.


1582430233 Spine panel of dust jacket lightly sunned. Quality, Value, Experience. Media Shipped in New Boxes. Buchnummer des Verkäufers LD10640

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Inhaltsangabe: A photo dealer and art historian, Robert Armour stumbles upon long-lost glass plates, the work of the great landscape photographer Wilfred Eng. The negatives, nudes of a beautiful young woman taken in 1874, bring certainty to the rumor of an affair between Eng and Ellen McFarland, wife of tycoon Joseph McFarland. The unraveling of that affair and the difficult relationship between McFarland and Eng become dual obsessions for Robert Armour.Though he recognizes the dangers, he also realizes the explosive impact such materials would have. The negatives threaten to shatter Armours fragile career, which was nearly destroyed years earlier when he unknowingly sold erotica by Edward Weston that turned out to be fake. Yet Armour is unable to resist temptation. Letting greed take the upper hand, he begins the search for a wealthy buyer.With the assurance of his mature talent, Orton portrays a societys reaction to an affair between an enigmatic Chinese artist and a white, upper-class woman. His supple prose reveals the subtle psychological turns in one mans contemporary struggle for redemption and love.

Rezension: The protagonist of Thomas Orton's debut novel is running out of second chances. Once the respected owner of an exclusive photo gallery in San Francisco, Robert Armour ruined his career when he sold "newly discovered" Edward Weston erotica that turned out to be fakes. Now he's started a new life for himself in Seattle, writing articles and acting as agent in the occasional photo sale. Though his work life has taken a nosedive, Robert has found personal happiness with Diane Mays and her 8-year-old son, Budge. Then one day Judith Lund, an artist wannabe with more money than talent, asks him to evaluate four glass negatives she unearthed in the basement of an apartment building she owns, and his life is turned unexpectedly upside down. The plates turn out to be self-portraits of the famous 19th-century Chinese American landscape photographer Wilfred Eng. What's more, these four are not the only ones. Down in the basement, Robert discovers more negatives--nude portraits of a beautiful young Caucasian woman who could only be Ellen McFarland, wife of Eng's patron, and rumored to be his mistress. Suddenly, Robert has the means of salvaging his career in his hands--if he's willing to risk losing everything, including Diane, to play a dirty game:

Judith, having heard me kick her door and shout when I'd come back up from the basement, would have assumed I was after her to sign my check. Later, if she confronted me about the missing broken plate, I could claim I'd never seen it, that it was rather a hunch and some subsequent research that had led me to believe the plates were Eng's. She couldn't prove otherwise.... Everything about this plan was workable except for Diane. Eventually I'd have to tell her what I'd done, though just now I didn't like to imagine what she would think.
Thomas Orton punctuates his hero's perilous descent with passages from Wilfred Eng's writings, as well as from Ellen McFarland's diaries detailing her passionate affair with, and eventual betrayal by, Eng. As Robert's life unravels, he reluctantly recognizes certain parallels between his own actions and those of the unhappy photographer--but will he be granted yet another chance to make things right this time? Orton has crafted a tale that is part love story, part thriller, and wholly engrossing. --Alix Wilber

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