Any number of things, mostly of a serendipitous nature, bring certain books into focuslife being very much a kaleidoscopic succession. In this instance, Amy MacKinnon’s debut novel, Tethered
, is adorned by a colorized version of Toni Frissell’s wonderful 1949 photograph Lady in the Lake,
which I first encountered on the album cover of Undercurrents
, the classic collaboration between pianist Bill Evans and guitarist Jim Hall. Now the photograph, shot underwater, shows a woman floating in a nightgown of sorts with most of her body below the water except for her mouth, nose, eyes and forehead. I am not sure whether the 1963 Evans/Hall album, which includes a wonderful version of Skating in Central Park, had emotional resonance with the photograph, but that is the connection I now see. I do find it to be a fascinating image and so I am led to wonder if cover designer Whitney Cookman connected the novel’s plotline or emotional valence. The story involves Clara, a young eccentric undertaker, and a young girl who may be connected to child murderers. As Clara is drawn into the murder investigation, despite her intentions, the story devolves into dark terror. Of which, of course, there is not the faintest hint in the photograph. Or so I see and say.