Getting Under Shirley Page’s Skin
Original title: Pour la peau de Shirley Page
Who was Shirley Page? A cheerful young woman with pale skin and long hair. She was the first model employed by the Kodak company in the 1950s as a chromatic standard. Other “Shirleys” followed – a lineage of cheerful models parading in secret through the photography giant’s laboratories.
The day the narrator learns that her mother, a French woman exiled to the United States in her youth, had been one of those girls, she becomes obsessed: she has to find out why the anecdote has never been a part of their family’s lore. Over the course of her attempts to break the silence, put memories in order and discern what the photo doesn’t say, all sorts of memories become intertwined: those of the women in her family – alive or dead – and those of thousands of other women.
A virtuoso first novel in which color is a tool for revealing the invisible behind this little-known chapter in Kodak’s history. Pour la peau de Shirley Page is a stunning quest for love, family and transmission.