Dazzling ... offers a kind of transcendent ghost story, where the past never seems to leave the present’s side. [Scharer's] narrative moves hypnotically back and forth through time and through three very different Lees ... he book is so much about the difference in what we believe to be true and what is true, how a photograph can be absolute truth or manipulated ... Part of the heady pleasure of Scharer’s novel is the writing, which is as seductive and beautiful as her descriptions of the shimmery satin kimonos in the opium den. Juxtaposed with that flossy Paris time is the war ... An absolutely gorgeous and feminist novel about art, love, and ownership, The Age of Light’ is truly a work of art in itself, both deeply moving and thrilling.
Readers who can’t get enough of [the 20th century Paris] milieu will be more than gratified by Whitney Scharer’s first novel, The Age of Light ... Scharer interleaves her tale with all-too-brief snippets of Miller’s later life, which was every bit as momentous as her time with Man Ray ... [Some reders] will salute Scharer for emphasizing the romantic aspects of her historical romance, wading into the sexual politics of the era and thus exposing our own.
In her debut novel, The Age of Light, Whitney Scharer delves with great sensitivity into this past and its effect on Lee ... Yet the pedestrian, realist form the novel takes is baffling ... this is precisely what is missing from Scharer’s novel: any sense that language can be 'solarized' like a photograph, that life’s 'luminous halo' can register on the page ... When Scharer intersplices short scenes from Miller’s time as a photojournalist during the war, the juxtaposition is promising, but doesn’t quite work; the Man Ray material unfolds at so leisurely a pace that it feels jarring when she interrupts it to flash forward ... It’s a shame because Scharer is herself a talented image-maker ... Scharer also excels at conjuring Lee’s ever-evolving understanding of the power of images ... The Age of Light flickers companionably, but never ignites a fire.