cover image The Vanishing Point

The Vanishing Point

Elizabeth Brundage. Little, Brown, $28 (336p) ISBN 978-0-316-43037-1

In this dark-toned mystery, Brundage (All Things Cease to Appear) develops an engrossing story about a love triangle involving three photographers. As the novel begins, famous photographer Rye Adler has presumably died, thought to have jumped off a bridge, though his body hasn’t been recovered. His former art school roommate Julian Ladd attends the funeral and reflects on the days when the two were “nearly feral with ambition.” Rye’s photographs teemed with people, whereas Julian’s urban landscapes were eerily empty: “It’s not what’s there that matters. It’s about everything that’s not.” They both were drawn to their classmate Magda Pasternak, who had an affair with Rye before he achieved international success. Twenty years later, Magda, now a wedding photographer, contacts Rye to help find her missing son, and after he agrees, Rye goes missing. Meanwhile, Julian deals with divorce proceedings. The first half of the novel brilliantly dissects the competitive and erotic entanglements that mark the characters, and Brundage is particularly good at using photographic theory to describe how each sees the world. Some of the nuance diminishes in the second half, as the mystery about how everyone is connected comes into focus and the characters flatten out. Still, the portrait has enough depth to hold the reader’s gaze. Agent: Linda Chester, the Linda Chester Literary Agency. (May)