Many generations have been moved by Dorothea Lange’s iconic image of “Migrant Mother,” photographed during the Great Depression. In her decades-spanning new novel, Mary Coin, author Marisa Silver presents a brilliant reimagining of the story behind that arresting face. In today’s world, bombarded with visual imagery and the need for information, Silver brings into question: What’s in a picture?
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Marisa Silver is the author of the short story collections Babe in Paradise, named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year, and Alone With You. She has written three novels, No Direction Home, The God of War, and most recently, Mary Coin. Silver made her fiction debut in The New Yorker, has won the O. Henry Prize, and her work has been included in The Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, as well as other anthologies.
Meghan O'Rourke is the author of the best-selling memoir The Long Goodbye and the poetry collections Once and Halflife. She is an award-winning cultural critic and a former editor at The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and Slate.
Main image: "Migrant Mother" by Dorothea Lange, 1936; Library of Congress photo collection. Photo caption: Destitute pea pickers in California. Mother of seven children, age 32. Nipomo, California.