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Publisher's Summary

In this luminous novel, Dominic Smith reinvents the life of one of photography's founding fathers. In 1839, Louis Daguerre's invention took the world by storm. A decade later, he is sinking deep into delusions brought on by exposure to mercury, the very agent that allowed his daguerreotype process. Believing the world will end within one year, he creates his "Doomsday List", 10 items he must photograph before the final day. It includes a woman he has always loved but has not seen in half a century.

Paris in 1847 was a city of Bohemian excess and social unrest. Into this strange and beguiling world, Louis Daguerre sets off to capture his doomsday images, with the help of the womanizing poet Baudelaire and a beautiful prostitute named Pigeon, in this moving story of ruined love, fame unraveling, and a prodigious mind coming undone.

©2006 Dominic Smith; (P)2006 Blackstone Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

  • AudioFile Earphones Award Winner

"A compelling psychological study, a thoughtful tracing of the birth of a new art form, and an atmospheric portrait of 19th century France: impressive on all three counts." (Kirkus Reviews)

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  • Overall

Interesting

I downloaded this book because I am interested in photography and wanted to know more about Louis Daguerre. Although the book is a work of fiction, it still was very interesting and informative regarding Daguerre's development of the first camera and photographic images. The love story of his life-long obsession with his childhood maid was a little far-fetched, but it kept me hooked until the end. I liked his relationship with Pigeon and the fact that he was a father figure to her, rather than a love interest.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Betania
  • Carlsbad, CA, United States
  • 07-20-17

beautifully written bittersweet story

beautifully written bittersweet story, the prose is lovely, the images and the vocabulary, and interesting historical detail as well

  • Overall
  • Deborah
  • Chambersburg, PA, United States
  • 01-31-08

Dud

Well, I know why this one was on sale. It wasn't horrible, just ho-hum. It read like hundreds of other fictional bios of 19th century French artists.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful