Lost in Black and White

It's thrilling to watch the leaps a literary imagination can make. Long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, Gail Jones' 2004 novel Sixty Lights was partly inspired by the life of pioneering 19th century photographer Julia Margaret Cameron, etching the story of Lucy Strange in 60 short-chapter "exposures" with the vividness of an exploding flashbulb.

"The photograph should appear... as if God had breathed it onto the glass," Lucy writes. Jones' breathless wonderment at the machines of modernity was next parlayed into her third novel Dreams of Speaking (2006), where academic heroine Alice...

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