Secrets of the Camera Obscura by David Knowles

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Invented by two Chinese eccentrics, stolen by Leonardo da Vinci, and exploited by the Dutch painter Vermeer, the camera obscura has a mysterious and eventful past that now appears to be linked to several murders. In a contemporary American city, a beautiful young woman who frequented the camera obscura is found decapitated just beyond the range of its lens. Another visitor to the tourist attraction, a secretive art student, becomes the prime suspect. Watching them all is the man who runs the camera obscura - a black room with a moveable lens to the outside world. From this cliff-top perch he writes the enigmatic history of the camera obscura's invention and its use, all the while unveiling strangely parallel tales of love and obsession. With sharp humor, historical revelations, and increasingly sinister clarity, author David Knowles unfolds this layered and unpredictable tale of duplicity and jealousy and the special powers of the camera obscura.

About David Knowles

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Published March 1, 1994 by Chronicle Books. 138 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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The narrative interweaves the three stories from his journals, each of which centers on a betrayal involving the camera obscura and a beautiful woman, with his growing conflict with Darin over what he takes to be the student's presumption about the Italian woman.

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Publishers Weekly

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The second of this publisher's pair of new novellas (see The Forty Fathom Bank , above), Knowles's disturbing debut explores the strange spell cast by the camera obscura, a room-size camera whose refl

Feb 28 1994 | Read Full Review of Secrets of the Camera Obscura

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