Monday, December 5, 2016

In Sunlight or In Shadow, Stories Inspired by the Paintings of Edward Hopper, edited by Lawrence Block

In this marvelous collection of Noir short stories inspired by the paintings of Edward Hopper, Lawrence Block lets lose the creative genius of some of the top authors of 2016, including, but not limited to, Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, Lee Childs, and Michael Connelly.

In Lee Childs's "The Truth About What Happened," an FBI agent, racing against the looming era of Joe McCarthy, tells the story of an elderly gentlemen, his young wife and youngish mother-in-law. Inspired by Hopper's 1943, painting, "Hotel Lobby," it's hard not be awed by Childs's genius.

In "Girlie Show," based on Hopper's 1941, painting of the same name, Megan Abbott crafts an exquisite story, set in the 1940s, of an aging wife with still-beautiful breasts and her artistic, egocentric, blind-to-her-charms, husband. Only after the wife is brought back to life, and self-esteem, by friendship with a red-haired stripper, does the thick fog lift that had been obscuring the despair-drenched marital relationship.

In "The Story of Caroline," after 38 years of marriage, Richard is dying, and Grace is remembering the baby she gave up when she was 16. Hannah, a 40 year old Hospice nurse who was adopted at birth, is there to give Grace respite in Richard's last days. As Grace and Hannah deal with his looming death, they reveal secrets to each other. Hopper's "Summer Evening" from 1947, brimming with the longing and hope of young love, and the look and feel of a hot summer's night, clearly inspired Jill D. Block; her writing is magnificent.

This book proves that Noir is not dead. It is brilliant, it is inspired, and it is filled with short stories that will haunt you.

Print Length: 384 pages
Publisher: Pegasus Books (December 6, 2016)
Publication Date: December 6, 2016
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC

(In exchange for an honest review, the publisher provided me with an advance copy of the book via NetGalley.)