Shade and Light

Shade and Light

by Maryann D'Agincourt

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The effects of World War II resonate through the lives of two families - one American and one European - living outside of Boston. As Jenny grows up in the shadow of her parents' dark experiences in Trieste during the war, she is pulled to the haunting art and ironic gaze of her next-door neighbor Jonas, whose own father, preparing for deployment as an army medic, died before he was born. But when the mysterious Eric Stram enters her life unexpectedly, she learns how her parents' past is not behind them but will continue to push her life in unforeseen - and possibly unwanted - directions. From the author of Journal of Eva Morelli, this poignant tale of the echoes of the past and the complications of the present explores the tensions between duty to family, and the desires of the individual, and the striking way that art can draw disparate lives together. 

D'Agincourt writes in the unique literary genre of Art Fiction. Shade and Light is the fifth work of fiction in Maryann D’Agincourt’s Art Fiction series. What is Art Fiction? 

Journal of Eva Morelli is the first work of literary fiction in Maryann D’Agincourt’s Art Fiction series. Who are these two figures in the undergrowth? Why are they there? How mysterious they look as they blend into the landscape. Vincent Van Gogh does not provide clues to these question in Undergrowth with Two Figures, 1890 which graces the cover of Journal of Eva Morelli. Maryann D’Agincourt has merged her passions for art and literature into a unique and powerful form of storytelling. Art Fiction is a literary genre in which art is not solely an object, but is a reflection of what is human in all of us. 

In All Most, the second in her Art Fiction series, Maryann D'Agincourt writes an insightful collection of short stories inspired by Oskar Kokoschka’s Two Nudes (Lovers),1913. Women’s fiction at its finest, Ms. D’Agincourt delves deep into the emotional lives of her characters and sheds light on the mysteries of human decisions and the significance of art and music in our lives. A work of art precedes each story as a vivid portrayal of how art inspires literature. 

Glimpses of Gauguin, a novel in sketches, is the third work of fiction in Maryann D’Agincourt’s Art Fiction series. Ms. D’Agincourt has been viewing Paul Gauguin’s masterpiece Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?, 1897-1898 from her early childhood visits to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston to the present, providing inspiration for her stunning novel in sketches. Reflecting the themes evident in Paul Gauguin’s painting, Ms D’Agincourt explores the growth of a young woman facing the challenges of family life, school, relationships, love and marriage. 

Printz is a novel about a man named Jacob Printz who lost his purpose in life. The one constant in Jacob’s life is the image of de Kooning's Seated Woman, c.1940 he first viewed as a much younger person, an image he comes back to over and over to make sense of the loves and losses in his life. This image symbolizes the world Jacob Printz inhabits, first with his sister Catherine and later with his lover Greta. And who is Jacob?  Amedeo Modigliani's Portrait of Henri Laurens, sitting, 1915 captures him best. 

Maryann D’Agincourt is an author who is inspired by art and artists. She often visited the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston as a young girl and merged her love of literature and art into the literary genre of art fiction. 

Shade and Light is Book 5 in her Art Fiction series.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780999400630
Publisher: Portmay Press
Publication date: 11/26/2018
Series: Art Fiction , #5
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 205
File size: 486 KB

About the Author

Maryann D'Agincourt, born Maryann Reppucci, in Boston, Massachusetts is the author of the National Book Award-nominated novel Journal of Eva Morelli. She has also written a collection of short stories entitled All Most. Glimpses of Gauguin, December, 2014, is described as a novel in sketches, Her most recent novel, Printz, was published, September, 2017. An alumna of Simmons College, she has earned two graduate degrees in English literature. Her thesis and orals focused on contrary forms of fiction in early twentieth-century British literature. She later studied in the Humber School for Writers, Toronto. Her mentors were M.G. Vassanji, Antanas Sileika, and Mavis Gallant. She has written design columns for a regional newspaper in the Connecticut Valley, and has had short stories published in literary magazines. As a novel-in-progress, Journal of Eva Morelli was a finalist in the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Competition.

Table of Contents

One:     Encounters

Two:     Summer

Three:  San Francisco

Four:    Day and Night

Five:    Sketching

Six:      Summer and Fall

Seven: Winter

Eight:   Lost

Nine:    Restless

Ten:     A New Year

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Shade and Light: A Novel 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
brf1948 More than 1 year ago
An interesting look at the lives of families affected by personal travails in Trieste during World War II, and the personality quirks and insecurities that carry back to those experiences. Jenny was born in the US after her parents immigrated, but Eric still carried the darkness within despite his years in America. Even Jonas, a several generation American, finds his life marred by the fact that his father died - of an illness before he was shipped overseas to fight in the war. The effects and aftereffects seem never ending. That said, this novel was almost exclusively a series of mental gymnastics. I can understand better the term Art Fiction since I tackled it, but I found it very limiting and a read downer in places. Still, an interesting experience. I received a free electronic copy of this historical novel from Netgalley, Maryann D'Agincourt, and Portmay Press LLC in exchange for an honest review. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me.
NOOKfile More than 1 year ago
Hede: Shadows reflect life in D'Agincourt's 'Shade and Light' Because Maryann D’Agincourt does not write art fiction in black and white, her fifth offering of the form is the most aptly titled. “Shade and Light” (Portmay Press) is a bewitchingly simple, modern novel filled with traditional complexities that entwine plot and character as an artist layers colors, crafting a final image to give pause, to make the viewer look deeper and question the depths of the portrait on display. Gaze into “Shade and Light” and you will see how the personal effects of World War II bind and flow through two families — one so beholden to the other for rescue that the offspring becomes generational. The obligation of the parent is laid on the child. Should it be? That is a question in one form or another that is central not only to this novel, but D’Agincourt’s oeuvre. Here, Jenny lives in the darkness of her parents’ war experience in Trieste. Now, living outside of Boston, she is contemplating her young future when the much older Eric enters her life to raise the question of a daughter’s duty — first to family, or first to self? There is after all a perceived obligation. The family's wartime debt can be paid by Jenny’s alliance with a man with whom she shares little, in contrast to the attraction she feels to her next-door neighbor, Jonas, and his haunting art. “Her path in life was very clear. Did she love Eric out of a sense of duty? Whenever she asked herself this question, she understood it was unknowable. Her situation was complex and involved — any attempt to answer such a question would sound insincere and perhaps even false,” D’Agincourt narrates. It is internal complexities that fuel “Shade and Light” — do not look for adventure here. D’Agincourt — whose unique prose is precise and efficient in that aromatic way that whiffs of translation — makes this point with a conversation between Jenny and her mother. “American authors favor action; European authors write deep, complex novels, novels that touch the soul,” her mother admonishes. “Shade and Light” embodies that complexity because, like life, it is textured. Yet, D’Agincourt tells us, it is through texture that clarity can be achieved. This is the lesson Jonas learns after a lifetime of struggling to capture Jenny on canvas. “Recently, he’d come across the sketch he had begun of Jenny that had turned out to be Belinda, his aunt. It struck him he’d done the drawing as if he’d been imagining Jenny in a stark light, not through shadow — that had been a mistake. … Surprisingly it had taken him years to realize.” D’Agincourt condenses those years in “Shade and Light.” The lessons of a lifetime are offered in trade for a few hours spent gazing at the strokes of the novelist’s brush. The deal is a fair one.