Sunday, February 15, 2015

Land of Enchantment by Liza Wieland


A moving and beautifully constructed novel, Land of Enchantment explores the relationship between art and life, mothers and daughters, women and men. After I had finished the book, I turned back to the beginning to study how the author developed the story and its themes. It's that kind of novel.

Brigid Long Night's language is color and form. After the tragic deaths of her Navajo/German parents she is employed by Georgia O'Keefe. New Yorker Julian Granger visits O'Keefe he and Brigid have a brief affair. Father Edgardo helps Brigid find a home for her baby and Brigid goes to New York City to start an art career that culminates in an installation at the World Trade Center.

Sasha Hernandez has lost her adoptive parents. She knows her mother is the famous artist Brigid Schulman. A film student in New York City, she captured the falling bodies from the World Trade Center on 9-11. She meets Rodney, a psychologist whose friend Henry Diamond has been searching for information about his sister Nancy who jumped from a collapsing building.

Wieland's book comes at the story from multiple viewpoints, utilizing first person and third person narratives, weaving the characters together in a complex interrelated web.

At times I was so moved I shuddered and turned away and inward, remembering that day, those images, the shock and resulting disassociation.

Art is compulsion for these characters: Brigid the painter, Sasha the film student, Nancy Diamond the playwright, Henry Diamond artist. It is how they process life.

I was greatly impressed by this book.

"We have art in order not to die of the truth." Frederich Nietzsche

Syracuse Press through NetGalley provided me the e-book for a fair and unbiased review.

Land of Enchantment
Liza Wieland
Syracuse University Press
Publication Date March 15, 2015
ISBN: 9780815610465
$24.95 hard bound