Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris (Magill's Literary Annual 2010)
In her first novel, Was She Pretty? (2006), Leanne Shapton broke stylistic ground when she chose to build her story through line drawings of each of her characters, mostly former lovers of the protagonists, accompanied with very brief textual descriptions. Her second novel, Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris: Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry is even more innovative. In this novel, Shapton draws on her talents as an illustrator, designer, photographer, and writer to create a very realistic, but wholly fictional auction catalog that details the remnants of a love affair gone wrong.
The book is more easily read than described. Each page presents numbered photographs and lot descriptions of important artifacts in the lives of the two main characters, Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris. The premise of the novel is that these items are to be auctioned off by the fictional auction house Strachan & Quinn on February 14, 2009, at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. A reader’s task is to examine the photos, read the lot descriptions, and glean the story of the couple’s four-year romance through the cryptic text and images.
The lots are organized chronologically, so it is possible to trace the arc of the romance from beginning to end. For example, the opening page contains a photograph of Doolan as Lot 1001;...
(The entire section is 1762 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!
Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2010)
ARTnews 108, no. 6 (June, 2009): 32.
Harper’s Magazine 318, no. 1908 (May, 2009): 78.
Maclean’s 122, no. 12 (April 6, 2009): 52-53.
The New York Times, February 5, 2009, p. C1.
The New York Times, February 8, 2009, p. L10.
Print 63, no. 2 (April, 2009): 95.
The Spectator 311, no. 9458 (December 5, 2009): 37.
The Virginia Quarterly Review 85, no. 3 (Summer, 2009): 207-211.
(The entire section is 41 words.)