A couple months back, I opened a book report with "Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be ballet dancers." This time, I'm going with "Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be photographers, either."
This book made the WSJ's Best Mysteries of 2021, and it finishes up my reading project for that list. (That list was a mixed bag. My previous reports: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.)
The book revolves around central characters Rye, Julian, and Magda; years back, they encountered each other at the prestigious Brodsky Workshop, a springboard for future famous shutterbugs. But as the book opens, two decades post-Brodsky, Julian is attending the memorial service for Rye, who's missing, presumed dead. So that's kind of a mystery, but not really, because nobody seems that interested in finding out what happened. We proceed to jump back in time to discover what brought us to that unhappy pass…
Each chapter is told via third-person limited point-of-view (I think it's called) describing some segment of some character's shambolic life. This is pretty good when the same scene is described from different POVs.
Pretty much everyone's miserable, smokes too much, drinks too much. (Or, in one case, much worse.) The prose is a little arty for my taste, the author eschews quotation marks, but some people, e.g. the WSJ reviewer, find it OK. And I thought things got a little too soap-operatic at the end. But that's me.