Excerpts from Reviews...
Inspired by "the haphazard collection of boxes and albums" saved by her mother, Kitchen explores and sometimes invents a family's history in this word montage of the photographs, letters, and journals she found there. It's a history that moves from Germany to the American Midwest and reaches back into the 19th century and forward into the author's bout with breast cancer. As Kitchen meditates upon the assorted photographs, the unseen (that little noticed figure in the background; those curious elements in the foreground) catches her eye and thoughts as vitally as the more solid objects: her known and unknown relatives as well as some unknowable strangers, for whom "no names, no places, no clues" exist. "Written over a ten-year period," this prose poem, masking itself as essays, rewards a leisurely reading, with not only, as Kitchen promises, "patterns of American immigration and opportunities," but an experience that may open the eyes to the treasure chest of the American experience found among those stepchildren of the arts—the snapshots. Kitchen's book lets you know what a keen eye coupled with an alert and sensitive intelligence can see. (Mar.)
— Publisher's Weekly
Judith Kitchen has written a book that is at once clear and accessible and at the same time insistently complex. Her effortlessly constructed hybrids make Half in Shade part memoir, part speculation, part essay, a demonstration of the interactive art of seeing, and finally for me, a beautifully sustained meditation. It is at that meditative level that the book's potent, unsentimental emotive power gathers.
— Stuart Dybek
Half in Shade is mysterious and brave, written with wit, humor, stabbing insight, and in prose that reverberates long after you turn the last page.
— Dinah Lenney