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The Last Summer of the World

A Novel

Emily Mitchell (Author)


"Absorbing…Mitchell's novel [is] the real thing." —Boston Globe

In the summer of 1918, with the Germans threatening Paris, Edward Steichen arrives in France to photograph the war for the American army. There, he finds a country filled with poignant memories for him: early artistic success, marriage, the birth of two daughters, and a love affair that divided his family. Told with elegance and transporting historical sensitivity, Emily Mitchell’s first novel captures the life of a great American artist caught in the reckoning of a painful past in a world beset by war.

A Finalist for the New York Public Library's Young Lion's Fiction Award and named a Best Book of the Year by the Providence Journal, the Austin-American-Stateman, and the Madison Capital Times.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • July 2008
  • ISBN 978-0-393-33194-3
  • 5.5 × 8.3 in / 400 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“In this debut novel, the life of a celebrated artist is imagined with the sensibility of a seasoned author…With a plot relentless in its inevitability, and the language shifting from spare to lush, Mitchell’s voice is refined and graceful depicting what is not: war and the dissolution of a marriage.” — Providence Journal

“Her story, written with grace and precision, doesn’t want for scope, and Ms. Mitchell’s shrewd restraint lends her work a concentrated power.” — New York Sun

“Beautifully rendered.” — Salon

“Finely wrought…rich in detail…Mitchell has a lyrical sensibility and a glorious ability to write about art.” — Madison Capital Times

“Dazzling…a devastating portrait of the insanity of war.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Mitchell’s prose is engaging and spirited…A striking novel highlighting the rich experience of artists in Europe in the early 1900s and the inner life of a conflicted individual.” — Library Journal

“Mitchell vividly imagines the terror of these historic dogfights…Enriching her intensely psychological tale with cameos of Auguste Rodin and others. Mitchell evokes the spell of creativity and the pain of rupture when following one’s vision severely complicates relationships.” — Booklist

“Mitchell has chosen an innovative and unusual narrative structure of chronological fragmentation…Mitchell establishes a context for individual photographs and deftly handles moments of personal crisis in Steichen’s life and career…A novel in which the chaos and fragmentation of war mirror the chaos and fragmentation of personal relationships.” — Kirkus Reviews

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