Afterimage✮ [PDF] ✩ Afterimage By Helen Humphreys ✻ – Inspired by the life of Julia Margaret Cameron Afterimage is the bold and provocative story of Annie Phelan a maid in the home of Isabel and Eldon Dashell Isabel is experimenting with the new medium o Inspired by the life of Julia Margaret Cameron Afterimage is the bold and provocative story of Annie Phelan a maid in the home of Isabel and Eldon Dashell Isabel is experimenting with the new medium of photography and is inspired by Annie who becomes her muse The two form a close relationship but when Eldon devises his own plans for the young maid Annie nearly loses herself until disaster reveals her power over the Dashells' work and hearts. 35 stars a Victorian bisexual love trianglethere were moments of profound beauty passion and insighthowever the book was soooo jarring in other sections that appeared rushed and overwhelmingly amateurishthis book had real potential to be a minor masterpiece with a few edits and expansion of the story and fleshing out of the psychology of the three main protagonistsat some point I would like to read a recent novel by this author as some of this book was absolutely brilliant I was somewhat disappointed in this work of historical fiction In the middle of the book I wrote this in the notes I was taking “This is boring” I did not think the ending was very credible So I give it 25 stars which is rounded up to 3 The author said it took two years of research to write the book so that was impressive It is loosely based on Julia Margaret Cameron a British photographer who is considered one of the most important portraitists of the 19th century She is known for her soft focus close ups of famous Victorian men and for illustrative images depicting characters from mythology Christianity and literature She had a maid Mary Hillier that was in a series of her photographs but she found only a little information about her marital status number of children age of death So the main protagonist in this novel Annie is a made up character The setting was the countryside of England near London in 1865 Protagonists were Annie Phelan a maid who had been born in Ireland the husband and wife Eldon and Isabelle Dashell who hired her the rest of their hired help Tess another maid the cook Gertie and a gardener Wilks and finally a neighbor who was an artist Robert Hill Isabelle takes up the art of photography a relatively new field Annie reminds Isabelle of a childhood friend Ellen Apparently Isabelle and Ellen had a sexual relationship although that was not entirely clear to me Chapter names are those of characters that Isabelle wants Annie to adopt so she can take photographs of hernot as Annie but as other people she wants Annie to become in the photos and Annie is uite adept at morphing into those characters apparently including Guinevere King Arthur and Knights of the Round Table and even the mother of Jesus the Madonna Eldon is a wanna be explorer of far distant lands the Arctic but is stuck drawing mundane maps type and amount of minerals available in various parts of the world in his house that is his wife’s Theirs is an unhappy marriage for reasons that are elaborated upon in the bookAnnie prior to being employed by the Dashells was employed by a Mrs Gilbey who plucked her from a workhouse I think at the age of nine Mrs Gilbey was very religious prayer 3 times a day and used to lock Annie up in her very small bedroom at night Annie called it a closet ☹ Annie ruminated that she would probably never get married or have children Another maid in the house Tess was pregnant with the child of her former employer who raped her Such was the lot of servants So much for the cheery lives of servants at Downton Abbey What a load of crapThere was one passage that reminded me to be thankful I do not live in an area infested with mosuitos Eldon was reading the field journal of a surveyor in the Canadian wilderness in the 1800s “they were so badly besieged by mosuitoes and blackflies that it was as the surveyor had recorded an agony of which leads men to madness No matter how they smeared tar and paint on their bodies or swathed their heads in cloth the insects crawled into their noses and ears swarmed about their heads It was impossible to breath without swallowing them and the faces of the men would have been constantly swollen beyond recognition” That sounds like one of Dante’s inner circles of hell There was another passage I liked uite a bit because it was evocative Eldon was reading about an Arctic expedition by British explorers that went awry and two men who slowly dying of the frost and hunger While dying in the wilderness with no hope of rescue they were reading the Vicar of Wakefield to each other “Around them all the comforts of an English parlour—silver service a supply of tea that would outlast their lives here Waiting to die or to be rescued Were they able to do as the line in the Vicar of Wakefield said the line that Annie stumbled over and then went back to again ‘Read out anguish into patience’ They fastened their dying breath to words Jim It was that last sentence that I liked a lotthese men are dying and they take comfort in their last moments on earth reading a novel Humphreys received the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize 2000 for Afterimage It was her third novel After reading this novel I’d probably give her another shot because I know she is well respected and some of her other novels have won prizes or been nominated for them including “Leaving Earth” 1998; won the Toronto Book Award and was a New York Times Notable Book in 1998 “The Reinvention of Love” 2011;was longlisted for the Dublin IMPAC Literary Award and shortlisted for the Canadian Authors Association for Fiction and The Evening Chorus 2015; longlisted for the 2017 International Dublin Literary Award ReviewsThis review was by a well respected author Andrea Barrett Ship Fever for the New York Times and she liked the book Jim This review comments on the photograph of the front cover saying that it should pull the reader into the novel but the cover on the paperback issue had no such photograph which was unfortunate A hauntingly beautiful reproduction of a Cameron photo on the jacket should pull readers to this finely wrought novel I would be comfortable giving this 45 stars but it's too good to be just a 4 so I will settle for 5This is the third Humphreys novel I have read and my favourite so far It's an absolutely beautiful Victorian era story of a young Irish maid named Annie and her relationship with both the lady of the house a wilful and somewhat unladylike photographer struggling to be recognized and the gentleman a map maker with a yearning to explore the world and map the entire thing Neither takes a particularly traditional approach to their servants particularly Annie who isn't a very typical servant herselfI find the tone and style of Humphreys' writing suits me perfectly It's beautiful without veering into poetry; descriptive without being verbose; emotional without being excessivly melancholy or dramatic; romantic without being sappy I like that she used a hint of true history as her inspiration but didn't just repurpose or retell anyone else's story And I love the eras that she chooses to set her novels in from the mid 19th to mid 20th Centuries I also like the fact that she keeps them relatively short at just under 250 pagesm it was easy enough to read this book in an afternoon and still have time to look out the window and mull it over afterwards Inspired not so much by real events if one was to look up Cameron's bio but at the very least by real photographs this book is a work of art in itself There is such beauty to the writing the cadence of narrative the astute characterizations In a wake of Downton Abbey's popularity this can be described as an upstairs downstairs story only the household is small and the lines uickly blur for the new servant Annie Phelan She becomes alternatively a muse a model a friend a confidante and most of all an escape from loneliness that defines the marriage of the master and mistress of the house It isn't uite a love triangle nor should it be marginalize as a lesbian fiction Just like photography itself it is a matter of perception an emotionally intelligent study of how our perceptions control our reality and vice versa Do we see a person as they are or as we want them to beas our thoughts desires and dreams inform our visions what might we miss really seeing Very moving thought provoking novel Recommended I found this book to be rather strange While it had an intriguing dreamy narration the story itself failed to impress me There was no overarching plotline or climax; I felt as if I was reading a collection of short stories with the same characters in each one For example in one section of the book Isabelle would take pictures of Annie and in the next Isabelle’s husband would talk to Annie about how he wanted to be an explorer in his youth Both events happen in the same setting in a short time frame but they do not connect or build off of the characterization that happened It felt as though in each section of the book characters were being revealed to me over and over again but they were never being developed past that initial revelation Further there was no goal or tension that built up to a climax I debated about giving this book three stars because two seemed a little harsh but then I realized that I actually did not like reading Afterimage at all This is a story about an intelligent uietly spirited young Annie Phelan survivor of the potato famine who comes to an unusual household as a maid She uickly becomes a model for her mistress Isabelle a photographer struggling against the trivialization of women as artists and against the artistic dogma of the day photography is not real art That Isabelle has lost three children at childbirth has strained her marriage to Eldon Eldon finds Annie a most agreeable companion and he gives her books to read shares his dreams of actually traveling to the Arctic rather than simply making maps Humphreys weaves together threads of early photography Arctic expeditions cartography the role of women the famine class structure attraction The writing is deep without being showy If you are simply reading this novel based on the progtagonist character of Annie Phelan both Mary's Hillier and Ryan then it is a highly enjoyable story However for myself I really struggled to enjoy the storyline based upon the characters of Mr and Mrs Dashell Although loosely based upon Mr and Mrs Charles Hay Cameron the author purposefully wrote such stark differences in their life story changing their life events so drastically that I honestly found the characters non sympathetic I understand full well changing the plot and storyline to suit the novel as the writing progresses but what the author has done was fixate upon the married couple having them grow apart as a couple based upon facts that happend to Julia Margaret Cameron having her character make decisions that she herself did not make in real life affecting both her photography theme and subject matter Afterimage is beautifully written and perhaps if I had read it knowing nothing about the life of Julia Margaret Cameron I would have loved it hands down Im curious as to what Ive missed from reading this book All the reviews seem to paint a different portrait than what I was presented with upon delving in to the world of the hoousehold of the Dashells I found it a bit boring actually I will agree with the other reviews when they say that it was an easy read perfectly easy to read in one sitting The only problem was the perpetual boredom with which I was taken by throughout the entire book Some spots were interesting Most were not Reading through the mapping bits and some of the stale descriptions I would find myself fantasizing about other victorian pieces Ive read To me the characters were very flat You couldnt tell the voices apart from one another They were all written by the same author and the reader could feel that Not a book for me It's not freuently that I think this book should have been longer but this is the case with Afterimage Too much plot for the pages; too much ground to cover that was whipped through and effect was lost as a result There were a lot of moments that this novel clearly wanted to be emotional and moving There was the budding of some beautiful symbolism but 250 pages was not enough to develop it into something that gave it its full impact The surface was skimmed and what was underneath looked promising but plunging the depths isn't one of the strengths of this book The characters show signs of wanting to be developed but instead of this each has their 'thing' about them and that's pretty much it Tess is grumpy Isabelle likes photography Eldon likes maps Annie is an Irish orphan All of the characters had the potential for further fleshing out The 'thing' about them could have been incorporated into wider development and they could have been believable and interesting As it was I came away from the book understanding what Humphreys wanted to say with them but not feeling that she fully succeeded in doing so on the pageStill Afterimage is worth a uick read The historical backdrop and some of the writing is a bit shaky but overall there were some unexpectedly poignant parts and potential that's enjoyable even when not fully utilized This is terrible I wish I hadn't wasted my money buying it I was attracted by the setting and the time periodbut any potential this had failed to be realised The story is utterly pointless and dull It only really gets going at the end The only relationship that came across in the book is the friendship between Annie and Eldon but apart from that all the characters are really dreary and 2D Minor characters have absolutely nothing about them they just exist The most interesting events of the plot are never explored or developed This is such a disappointmentMy main complaint with this though is the style of writing The use of the present tense is really confusing and distracting Rather than having a chapter or section from each character's point of view it just shows us what everyone is thinking all the time It was so hard to keep track of You would flit between anyone and everyone's thoughts within one paragraph I often had to re read bits to figure out who was supposed to having that thought or feelingI will be taking this to the charity shop on Monday morning

Hardcover  º Afterimage Epub ¼
  • Hardcover
  • 240 pages
  • Afterimage
  • Helen Humphreys
  • English
  • 14 June 2016
  • 9780805066661