The final book in Howard Norman’s Canadian trilogy is a tremendous accomplishment: a novel about spirit photographs, adultery and greed that moves from Halifax to the Far North and back again.It is 1927. When young Peter Duvett accepts a job as an ...
ts a job as an assistant to the esteemed portraitist Vienna Linn, in the remote town of Churchill, Manitoba, his life changes in more ways than he could possibly 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 violence and art.
After a strenuous journey, Peter arrives in Churchill on the very night of his employer’s wedding — only to be seduced by Vienna’s brilliant and beautiful new wife, Kala Murie. In the months that follow, shuttling between Vienna’s makeshift darkroom and Kala Murie’s bed, Peter is drawn more and more deeply to Kala, as he comes to share her obsession with “spirit pictures,” photographs in which the faces of the dead, deeply missed or altogether forgotten, mysteriously appear during the process of development.