A dual biography of the turn-of-the-century friendship between two groundbreaking women: scientist Marie Curie and Loie Fuller, an American performance artist who dreamed of using Curie's insights into radium to create dazzling stage productions.
... Heinecke has captured their lives, their times, and their friendship in a beautifully crafted work of creative nonfiction as gripping as any novel of Belle Epoch Paris ... In sharing their stories, Liz Heinecke has shined a light on two remarkable women whose work and friendship was a gift to each other and to the world.
... [an] imaginative and immersive dual biography ... [a] spirit of joy illuminates Radiant ... a true account that reads as fluidly as a novel ... Her evocation of Paris feels lush and lively ... Through her affectionate depiction of these women and their milieu, Heinecke allows their spirits 'to keep shining on with a faint but steady light, inspiring us to dream bigger, work harder and reach higher'; skillfully, seamlessly, she lets their friendship and feminism blaze again in the 21st.
Radiant doesn’t do this promising material justice. The approach is bold, using imaginary dialogue and inner thoughts to flesh out the women’s stories, but the narrative tone flips uneasily between novelistic dramatization and biographical info-dumping. Too often, major life events are told as backstory rather than portrayed as lived experiences. In a dramatized documentary film, we know when we’re seeing an actor and when we’re hearing a commentator. In Radiant that’s hard to tell, and this makes the book difficult to engage with.