In Sunlight or in Shadow – Stories inspired by the paintings of Edward Hopper, edited by Lawrence Block

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Objectively, this was a mixed bag, as all anthologies by definition must be. But I liked the book a lot, perhaps more than the stories themselves deserved. I mean, what a brilliant idea to grab a bunch of the best writers and Hopperheads and get them to come up with 5,000-word short stories based on a Edward Hopper painting of their choice.

And while some of the stories were so-so, some were quite brilliant. To pick some over others would be unfair, and highly subjective, of course, but I loved Kris Welscott’s about an anti-lynching activist, Craig Ferguson’s story of an atheist preacher and Gail Levin’s story detailing theft of Hopper’s early paintings by, coincidentally, another preacher.

But more than specifics, the anthology made me really appreciate Edward Hopper’s genius and the fruitfulness of finding your own good stories in others’ great works.

No. 12 of 100 books I intend to read and review in 2019.

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Patrick Sherriff publishes a monthly newsletter highlighting good fiction about Japan and featuring an original painting or sketch. He lives in Abiko, Japan, with his wife and two daughters.

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