Hold Still : A Memoir with Photographs
by Sally Mann

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR The New York Times , Washington Post , The San Francisco Chronicle , Vogue , NPR , Publishers Weekly , BookPage
A revealing and beautifully written memoir and family history from acclaimed photographer Sally Mann.

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More About Hold Still by Sally Mann
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEARThe New York Times, Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, Vogue, NPR, Publishers Weekly, BookPage
A revealing and beautifully written memoir and family history from acclaimed photographer Sally Mann.
In this groundbreaking book, a unique interplay of narrative and image, Mann's preoccupation with family, race, mortality, and the storied landscape of the American South are revealed as almost genetically predetermined, written into her DNA by the family history that precedes her.
Sorting through boxes of family papers and yellowed photographs she finds more than she bargained for: "deceit and scandal, alcohol, domestic abuse, car crashes, bogeymen, clandestine affairs, dearly loved and disputed family land . . . racial complications, vast sums of money made and lost, the return of the prodigal son, and maybe even bloody murder."
In lyrical prose and startlingly revealing photographs, she crafts a totally original form of personal history that has the page-turning drama of a great novel but is firmly rooted in the fertile soil of her own life.

  • ISBN-13: 9780316247757
  • ISBN-10: 0316247758
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books
  • Publish Date: April 2016
  • Page Count: 496

Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Artists, Architects, Photographers
Books > Biography & Autobiography > Personal Memoirs
Books > Biography & Autobiography > Women

BookPage Reviews

Book Clubs: Scout comes home

Harper Lee’s second published novel, Go Set a Watchman, is available in paperback this month after igniting considerable controversy—and record-setting sales—when it was released in hardcover last year. The recently discovered novel offers an unsettling portrait of the Finch family, whom readers first met in Lee’s classic, To Kill a Mockingbird. Written in the mid-1950s and simmering with the racial and political tensions of that time, Go Set a Watchman portrays Jean Louise Finch (aka Scout) as a 26-year-old who has come back to Maycomb, Alabama, from New York City to visit her father, Atticus. The return home proves to be a melancholy affair, as Jean Louise makes troubling discoveries about her family, community and the people she loves the most. As the past floods into the present, and Jean Louise looks back on her childhood, she finds herself questioning the truths and beliefs that provided the foundation for her life. Reading groups will find much to discuss in Lee’s story of a young woman struggling to make sense of a world in flux.

A mesmerizing blend of image and text, Sally Mann’s memoir, Hold Still, is in a class by itself. In this luminous, forthright narrative, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, the acclaimed photographer shares the story of her Southern childhood, tracks her evolution as an artist and looks back on her experiences as a wife and mother of three. From the dramatic accident that almost killed her young son, Emmett, to the uproar caused by the photographs of her children in the book Immediate Family (1992), Mann provides insights into her personal life and her aesthetic, which are tightly intertwined. Punctuating Mann’s fluid narration are her own arresting images—photographs of her homestead in Virginia, family portraits old and new and scenes of the South. As precisely composed as one of her photos, this intimate memoir is a must-read for Mann’s many fans and a work that’s sure to inspire up-and-coming creatives, no matter the medium. Filled with quotes, notes, letters and other ephemera, it’s a fascinating scrapbook from the life of an elusive artist.

Beloved author Anne Tyler offers another poignant, true-to-life domestic drama in A Spool of Blue Thread. Spanning seven decades, this richly detailed novel tells the story of the Whitshank family, whose center is 72-year-old Abby. Married to Red, with whom she has raised four children, Abby looks back on the early days of her romance with him in the late 1950s, before they moved into their Baltimore home, a large, rambling house that seems to take on a life of its own as the novel unfolds. In this compelling family epic, readers will find many of the qualities they’ve come to treasure in Tyler’s work—a sense of compassion, a flair for comedy and an unforgettable cast of characters that includes college-dropout Denny, the Whitshanks’ directionless son. Tyler’s 20th novel is the work of a writer at the height of her powers. 


This article was originally published in the May 2016 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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