"Booklist" review of "Moments Captured"

October 19, 2012

Booklist review of Moments Captured. Seidman, Robert J. (Author)
Nov 2012. 384 p. Overlook, hardcover, $26.95. (9781468300482).

The life and exploits of pioneering photographer Eadweard Muybridge are examined in delectable detail in Seidman’s engrossing novel. The realities of Muybridge’s professional tasks and historic achievements are set against the personal temptations of Holly Hughes, the fictional lover and muse Seidman invents. An internationally acclaimed dancer, Hughes is a zealously outspoken proponent of free love and women’s rights, and her passion for both spurs an equally intense drive in Muybridge to break new ground in stop-action photographic techniques. He is given the perfect opportunity by California’s grandiose former governor, Leland Stanford, when Stanford accepts the challenge to provide photographic proof that his champion racehorse gallops at such a pace that he is temporarily airborne. Although Muybridge’s creativity and ambition are instrumental in transforming photography from an exclusively static medium into motion pictures, his personal life devolves into sordid scandal when he murders Hughes’ former lover, in a variation of the crime Muybridge actually did commit. Seidman combines brisk pacing and bold passions to dynamically illuminate a crucial chapter in America’s artistic and technological history.
— Carol Haggas

Selected Works

A review of Seidman's "Moments Captured" that appeared in "Curled Up with a Good Book" in early December 2012
There are indelible characters, both historical and fictional: the tireless experimenter Muybridge; the impassioned feminist Holly Hughes, a gifted dancer and strong-minded feminist; Denise Faveraux, Holly’s friend and sometime companion, a prostitute with a fast ironic mind and the hard-won knowledge of how to protect herself from the profession’s worst nightmare, disease; Leland Stanford, the master builder California ex-Governor whose transcontinental ambitions conflict with Holly’s commitment to female equality; Jacques Fauconier, the flamboyant self-assured French sometime lover of Holly; Samuel Montague, the ingenious chief engineer of the Central Pacific who provides Muybridge with the decisive element in his quest to capture the trotting horse; Collis Ward, Stanford’s sneaky snaky assistant; Thomas Alva Edison, the brilliant inventor/promoter who cleverly cashes in on Muybridge’s motion picture project. There are cameo appearances by historical/fictional individuals, including the photographer Matthew Brady, the painter Jean-Leon Gerome and Walt Whitman. A teeming, multitudinous canvas, as crammed with life and conflict as the Gilded Age itself.
"One Smart Indian is an astonishing act of empathy."
–John Leonard, New York Times
Positive reviews extolled the novel's ability to combine compelling mystery with a fascinating story about a young couple's relationship and class in America.
A timeless annotation of the greatest novel of the 20th century, James Joyce's Ulysses. Why read Joyce's great novel without this indispensable guide?

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