The Spirit Photographer, by Jon Michael Varese, The Overlook Press, 320 pages, release date 17 April, 2018.
If, in the midst of the craziness that is our nation at the moment, you need an escape, one that won’t cost a fortune, one that will be completely immersive—try Jon Michael Varese’s The Spirit Photographer. Set shortly after the end of the Civil War, the novel follows a varied cast of characters caught up in what may, or may not, be a series of cons. A photographer claims the ability to take photographic portraits that show not only the sitter, but also the spirit of someone the sitter has loved who has “crossed over.” As you read, you won’t just be entertained by the book’s action. You’ll also have a chance to see how that era was experienced by different classes of individuals, including recently freed slaves and women. Depending on your reading speed, you can count on The Spirit Photographer for a good five hours (plus or minus) of escape from our own historical moment.