Mary Coin

Mary Coin

Large Print - 2013 | Large print edition
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In 1936, a young mother resting by the side of a road in Central California is spontaneously photographed by a woman documenting the migrant laborers who have taken to America's farms in search of work. Little personal information is exchanged, and neither woman has any way of knowing that they have produced what will become the most iconic image of the Great Depression. Three vibrant characters anchor the narrative of Mary Coin. Mary, the migrant mother herself, who emerges as a woman with deep reserves of courage and nerve, with private passions and carefully-guarded secrets. Vera Dare, the photographer wrestling with creative ambition who makes the choice to leave her children in order to pursue her work. And Walker Dodge, a present-day professor of cultural history, who discovers a family mystery embedded in the picture. In luminous, exquisitely rendered prose, Silver creates an extraordinary tale from a brief moment in history, and reminds us that although a great photograph can capture the essence of a moment, it only scratches the surface of a life.
Publisher: Waterville, Maine : Thorndike Press, 2013
Edition: Large print edition
ISBN: 9781410460288
Branch Call Number: x Large Print Coll
Characteristics: 447 pages ; 23 cm


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ArapahoeAnnaL Nov 14, 2017

The author was inspired by the famous photo of a mother and her 3 children that captures the anguish and courage of a family surviving the depression and dust bowl of the 1930's in rural America. Who might this mother have been? The photographer? What would become of the baby in her arms? All beautifully imagined in this heartfelt story.

Oct 19, 2017

The author starts from a famous depression era picture of a migrant mother. Very little is known about this person other than she and her children survived the depression and even thrived due to efforts of the mother. The author builds a fictional story around this absolutely captivating picture. Awesome book. Very well written. Informative in regards to the hardships that people faced during the depression.

archreads Feb 14, 2017

I really enjoyed this fictional back story of the depression-era photograph, "Migrant Mother" taken by Dorothea Lange. The book is very well written and the characters very compelling.

ArapahoeLesley Nov 10, 2016

I like what the writer did. Take a famous photo that everybody knows but no longer really sees and make us really see it again. Giving the photo a story beyond the standard depression era iconic image, Marisa Silver creates 3 intertwining stories that are a good read and make you think.

Jul 03, 2016

Loved this novel. The interweaving of fact and fiction was outstanding and the writing wonderful. Silver reflected the inner voice of the three main characters brilliantly. A totally engaging read!

Sep 18, 2015

Beautiful prose, interlaced stories of a family during the Depression, to modern day.
I couldn't put this book down.
One of the best books I've read this year.

Jun 18, 2015

As historical fiction, the author had the structure for the story from actual events, at least the woman in the picture and the photographer. Taking that she wrote a remarkable story that takes you from the depth of the depression and the rigors endured on to the family struggles of three remarkable characters. I thoroughly enjoyed the book.

Mar 11, 2015

Inspired by a Depression era photograph of a migrant woman and her children, the book contains three narratives - the subject of the photograph, the photographer and a cultural historian. Although the historian is used by the author to make comments about images and seeing and to tie the narratives together, the book may have been stronger if it had contrasted the lives of the photographer and her subject. Interestingly, only the migrant woman's children have uncomplicated adult lives.

smc01 Apr 13, 2014

This is a beautifully written novel that gives the reader a lot to think about. "In luminous, exquisitely rendered prose, Silver creates an extraordinary tale from a brief moment in history, and reminds us that although a great photograph can capture the essence of a moment, it only scratches the surface of a life." An excellent book club pick; non-fiction companion reading is also available about the photo "Migrant Mother" and its photographer.

Nov 18, 2013

Mary Coin is an enjoyable book. I love reading history and esp The Great Depression. No big surprises.

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Aug 12, 2015

“She knew her death was near because time had begun to fold like a fan so that the past and the present rubbed together in ways that made her feel supple and porous, as if time were moving through her body and not the other way around.”

Aug 12, 2015

“A picture doesn't bring someone to life. A picture is a death of the moment when the picture is taken. Whenever you look at a picture, time dies again.”

Aug 12, 2015

She was a strong woman. I remember when she was going to have “an operation” in a place that was not a hospital. The doctor asked her: “Are you ready?” She said: “Are you?”


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