The Haunting of L. by Howard Norman

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The final book in Howard Norman's Canadian Trilogy: a novel about spirit-photographs, adultery, and greed

It is 1927. Young Peter Duvett has accepted a job as an assistant to the elusive portraitist, Vienna Linn, in the remote town of Churchill, Manitoba. Peter's life is about to change in ways he scarcely could have imagined. Across Canada, Linn has been arranging and photographing gruesome accidents for the private collection, in London, of a Mr. Radin Heur-theirs is a macabre duet of art and violence.

After a strenuous journey, Peter arrives in Churchill on the very night of his employer's wedding only to fall under the spell of Vienna's brilliant and beautiful wife, Kala Murie. Several months later, the uneasy menage a trois moves to Peter's native Halifax. Peter is drawn more and more deeply to Kala as he reluctantly comes to share her obsession with "spirit pictures," photographs in which the faces of the long-dead or forgotten mysteriously appear --and as he sees more and more terrifying scenes come to life in the darkroom.

Howard Norman's The Haunting of L. is a chilling fable of moral blindness and artistic ambition, from a writer of "complexly tragic vision" (Richard Bernstein, The New York Times).

About Howard Norman

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Howard Norman is a National Book Award finalist for both The Northern Lights and The Bird Artist. His other works include The Museum Guard and The Chauffeur, a collection of stories. He received the Lannan Award for fiction. He lives with his family in Vermont and Washington D.C.
Published January 1, 2002 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 336 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Haunting of L.

The Guardian

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The Haunting of L by Howard Norman Picador £15.99, pp326 Howard Norman writes about strange people in strange landscapes, and when strange things are not happening, there is always a sense of looming disquiet.

Feb 09 2003 | Read Full Review of The Haunting of L.

BC Books

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So, there are several things that I like in this book, structurally.

Aug 29 2011 | Read Full Review of The Haunting of L.

BC Books

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However, another source of conflict is the fact that these three people aren't your best law-abiding citizens either: being fans of spirit photography (this is the genre of photography that tries to capture the images of ghosts and other beings that are otherwise not present during the time w...

Aug 29 2011 | Read Full Review of The Haunting of L.

Star Tribune

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Review: Twice-nominated for the National Book Award, Norman demonstrates his masterful narrative skills once again in a quirky yarn full of sex, spiritualists, cops, red herrings and smoking guns.

Mar 30 2002 | Read Full Review of The Haunting of L.

Entertainment Weekly

By story's end, one of the many guilty parties confesses to his misdeeds in a rabid scribble, ''writing, writing as if to beat the Devil.'' A- Originally posted Apr 19, 2002 Published in issue #649 Apr 19, 2002 Order article reprints

Apr 19 2002 | Read Full Review of The Haunting of L.

The New Republic

In The Museum Guard, which appeared three years later, Norman broadened his scope, examining what it means to engage with a work of art against the backdrop of the approach of World War II.

Mar 25 2002 | Read Full Review of The Haunting of L.

Project MUSE

Howard Norman, The Haunting of L., Farrar, Straus and Giroux The action of Norman's elegant, brilliantly spare new book unfolds in the 1920s in both Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Churchill, a wrenchingly cold harbor town of 1500 surrounded by tundra and ice in northern Manitoba.

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