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      William Saroyan International Prize for Writing

Maryalice Huggins

Aesop's Mirror

Maryalice Huggins

About the Author

Maryalice Huggins is a restorer and gilder of antique mirrors. She has worked for museums, interior decorators, and private collectors. She lives in Middletown, Rhode Island.

About the Book

Falling in love at first sight with a mirror in a Rhode Island auction, Maryalice Huggins sets out to discover its history and is surprisingly learns that it was likely passed down through generations of the illustrious Brown family. Certain of the mirror’s prestige, she goes up against the leading lights of the fascinating high-end antiques world and discovers that the value of a beautiful object and its market value are not the same thing at all. As Huggins concludes her sleuthing, research, and obsession, she finds her own life irrevocably changed.

Critics / Reviews

“Maryalice Huggins has mirror fever, and her quest to understand one special antique mirror makes great reading—part history, part love story, and an altogether fascinating look at the secretive, seductive world of rare things.”
— Susan Orlean, author of The Orchid Thief

“Mixing antiquarian know-how with narrative suspense, Maryalice Huggins has somehow transformed an obsession with an antique mirror into an erudite nail-biter.”
— Billy Collins

“I was mesmerized—not just by the history behind this story, but also by the passion that drove Huggins to delve into the past, and into herself, to figure out why we love what we love, and why finally understanding our passions is always bittersweet.”
— Sara Nelson, author of So Many Books, So Little Time

“A rollicking read.”
The Providence Journal

“Huggins's passion for objects and history is contagious . . . [Aesop’s Mirror is] a short, suspense-filled whodunit, and you will know every name in it!”
Maine Antique Digest

“A knowledgeable frolic through the high-end world of the buying and selling of early American decorative arts . . . So-called experts are deliciously proved fallible in this informative, creative exegesis on how antiques attain their value.”
Publishers Weekly

“This entry will appeal most to readers interested in the world of antiques, who are sure to admire Huggins’s tenacity in a notoriously male-dominated line of work.”
Booklist

“A surprisingly complex story of American beginnings . . . In an age in which art’s bottom line is generally thought to be the bottom line, the book attests to the true reasons we cherish rare objects that have come down to us from the past: the way they elicit our desire to possess their beauty and their mystery.”
— Benjamin Moser, Harper’s Magazine

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September 7, 2010