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Mary Coin

A Novel

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


Bestselling author Marisa Silver takes Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother photograph as inspiration for a story of two women—one famous and one forgotten—and their remarkable chance encounter.
In 1936, a young mother resting by the side of the road in central California is spontaneously photographed by a woman documenting migrant laborers in search of work. Few personal details are exchanged and neither woman has any way of knowing that they have produced one of the most iconic images of the Great Depression. In present day, Walker Dodge, a professor of cultural history, stumbles upon a family secret embedded in the now-famous picture. In luminous prose, Silver creates an extraordinary tale from a brief event in history and its repercussions throughout the decades that follow—a reminder that a great photograph captures the essence of a moment yet only scratches the surface of a life.

From Publishers Weekly

Feb 25, 2013 – Three characters whose lives span 90 years form the core of Silver's gorgeous third novel (after The God of War). Social historian Walker Dodge, as he sorts through the last items of his nearly empty childhood home, discovers a familial link to a famous photograph. Here, a real-life photo taken by Dorothea Lange in 1936 becomes a fictional photo taken by Vera Dare of Mary Coin. Silver fills in the untold story behind Lange's photo by revealing Vera and Mary's lives in vivid detail. Neither woman can reconcile herself with the Depression-era photo, yet they are intimately linked: each has children, husbands who leave them, and battles with cancer. This narrative of mid-century hope, loss, and disenchantment is both universal and deeply personal. Mary's problem with the truth of history and the stories told through objects leads her to make the hardest decision of her life, one confronted by Walker 75 years later. Silver has managed the difficult task of fleshing out history without glossing over its ugly truths. With writing that is sensual and rich, she shines a light on the parts of personal history not shared and stops time without destroying the moment.

Customer Reviews

Mary Coin

This is the best book I have read in a long time. From beginning to te last sentence, it is a winner!

Outstanding story-telling

A tale of human suffering, triumphs, relationships and discovery, this novel reaches out and grabs at your heart almost the way "Grapes of Wrath" does. even though the reader can guess early on where the lives in this story will lead and intersect, there is still quite a bit of intrigue and mystery, making the book difficult to put down. I can't wait to read other work by this writer.

Mary Coin

I loved the story. I could not wait each day to see how it all came together! I was left feeling like...'to be continued' please continue

Mary Coin
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  • $6.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Mar 07, 2013
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
  • Print Length: 336 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings