The Shadow Catcher, by Marianne Wiggins, has been selected as the featured book for the 2009 Santa Monica Citywide Reads program.
Santa Monica Citywide Reads is a community reading program that invites people to read and discuss the same novel in book clubs and other events held around the city. The program will mark its seventh anniversary next year.
In The Shadow Catcher, Wiggins weaves two stories of family history, personal loss and landscape. One narrative follows a fictional Wiggins who has written a book on Edward Curtis and is called to the deathbed of her father, a man she knows died when she was a child.
The other narrative follows Curtis and his family, who traveled across North America to photograph Native people through his imagination and lens at the turn of the 20th Century. Photographs from the Curtis archives and the Wiggins family album add to the reflection of myths and truths.
“The Shadow Catcher is a compelling story that explores, among other things, how photographic images shape the way we remember the past,” said Carol Jago, incoming president of the National Council of Teachers of English and Citywide Reads Advisory Committee member. “I could not put it down.”
Simon and Schuster published the novel in 2007. The Shadow Catcher was named a Best Book of the Year by the National Book Critics Circle, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and Publisher Weekly.
Wiggins has written nine books, including Evidence of Things Unseen, which was a National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2003. She also won the Whiting Award and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1989. Wiggins is currently an English professor at the University of Southern California.
Santa Monica Citywide Reads is scheduled in March and April and will feature free public book discussion groups led by volunteer facilitators and held in libraries, bookstores, coffeehouses, and other venues. Related special events, including a presentation by the author, are being planned.
Information, www.smpl.org /cwr/, www.santamonicacitywide reads.blogspot.com/ or (310) 458-8600.