The Last Summer of the World
A Novel by Emily Mitchell

About the Book

Finalist for NYPL Young Lions Award!

In the summer of 1918, with the Germans threatening Paris, Edward Steichen arrives in France to photograph the war from the air for the American army. France is full of poignant memories for him: early artistic successes, marriage, and a love affair that divided his family. It is also where he was forced to abandon his paintings, photographs, and negatives -- his entire life's work -- when the war began.

Flying over the fields of France, Steichen struggles of understand what went wrong with his seemingly idyllic life. His search for answers takes him into his own complex past, toward a painful self-understanding and the discovery of new ways of seeing the world.


Publishers' Weekly (starred review): "First time novelist Mitchell pulls off the dazzling trick of allowing readers to see through the eyes of art-photography pioneer Edward Steichenin her excellent reconsideration of his life and art. This would be merely impressive if the book confined itself to the stormy end of Steichen's first marriage, a subtheme that gets its due and packs a psychological punch. Instead,  Mitchell follows Steichen through his airborne reconnaissance work during WWI, providing a devastating portrait of the insanity of war in general and the Great War in particular... this commanding novel is about the images one can never quite burn from memory."





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