Half In Shade by Judith Kitchen
Family, Photography, and Fate

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“Judith Kitchen has written a book that is at once clear and accessible and at the same time insistently complex. Her effortlessly constructed hybrids make Half in Shade part memoir, part speculation, part essay, a demonstration of the interactive art of seeing, and finally for me, a beautifully sustained meditation. It is at that meditative level that the book’s potent, unsentimental emotive power gathers.”--Stuart Dybek

When Judith Kitchen discovered boxes of family photos in her mother's closet, it sparked curiosity and speculation. Piecing together her memories with the physical evidence in the photos, Kitchen explores the gray areas between the present and the past, family and self, certainty and uncertainty. The result is a lyrical, ennobling anatomy of a heritage, family, mother-daughter relationships, and the recovery from an illness that captures with precision the forces of the heart and mind when "none of us knows what lies beyond the moment, outside the frame."

Judith Kitchen is the award-winning author of several works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Her work has won the Lillian Fairchild Award, a Pushcart Prize, and the S. Mariella Gable Fiction Prize. She has served as judge for the AWP Nonfiction Award, the Pushcart Prize in poetry, the Oregon Book Award, and the Bush Foundation fellowships, among others. The recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, Kitchen lives in Port Townsend, Washington, and serves on the faculty and as codirector of the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University.


About Judith Kitchen

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Judith Kitchen is the author of Only the Dance: Essays on Time and Memory and most recently Distance and Direction. She is a Writer-in-Residence at SUNY Brockport in upstate New York.
Published March 23, 2012 by Coffee House Press. 222 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Slowly, from these fragmented snatches of essays (ranging from a single paragraph to 30 pages), a picture of Kitchen’s family emerges: German-American immigrants on her father’s side, impoverished farmers on her mother’s.

Feb 01 2012 | Read Full Review of Half In Shade: Family, Photog...

Publishers Weekly

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Inspired by “the haphazard collection of boxes and albums” saved by her mother, Kitchen explores and sometimes invents a family’s history in this word montage of the photographs, letters, and journals she found there.

Jan 16 2012 | Read Full Review of Half In Shade: Family, Photog...


One of several excellent new releases from Coffee House Press in Minneapolis, available for order online and at your favorite new bookstores in Denver, Judith Kitchen’s enables a unique perspective on family, memory, and history in this novel, with its discovery of a trove of family pictures as t...

Feb 13 2012 | Read Full Review of Half In Shade: Family, Photog...

ForeWord Reviews

Judith Kitchen’s new memoir, Half in Shade: Family, Photography, and Fate, kicks off with the following disclaimer: “I have never owned a camera and I never snap photos, except reluctantly when asked by others.” It’s an odd way to begin a book about old photographs;

Apr 03 2012 | Read Full Review of Half In Shade: Family, Photog...

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