The Gravity of Birds

Guzeman, Tracy

Book - 2013
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
The Gravity of Birds
How do you find someone who wants to be lost? Sisters Natalie and Alice Kessler were close, until adolescence wrenched them apart. Natalie is headstrong, manipulative-and beautiful; Alice is a dreamer who loves books and birds. During their family's summer holiday at the lake, Alice falls under the thrall of a struggling young painter, Thomas Bayber, in whom she finds a kindred spirit. Natalie, however, remains strangely unmoved, sitting for a family portrait with surprising indifference. But by the end of the summer, three lives are shattered. Decades later, Bayber, now a reclusive, world-renowned artist, unveils a never-before-seen work, Kessler Sisters -a provocative painting depicting the young Thomas, Natalie, and Alice. Bayber asks Dennis Finch, an art history professor, and Stephen Jameson, an eccentric young art authenticator, to sell the painting for him. That task becomes more complicated when the artist requires that they first locate Natalie and Alice, who seem to have vanished. And Finch finds himself wondering why Thomas is suddenly so intent on resurrecting the past. In The Gravity of Birds histories and memories refuse to stay buried; in the end only the excavation of the past will enable its survivors to love again.

Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, 2013.
Edition: 1st Simon & Schuster hardcover ed.
ISBN: 9781451689785
Characteristics: 294 p. ;,24 cm.


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Feb 04, 2015
  • LaughingOne rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

This is a very difficult book to get into; I didn't like the characters at the beginning; I didn't like how they lived and what they were doing. I almost stopped reading many times; however, it was the only book I had for a few days (and I HAVE to read), so I kept trying to read it. The story did get more interesting to me, about half way through. As Lemony Snicket would say, there were a series of unfortunate events. One sister seemed to take advantage of them in a sick way; the other chose to not know what was going on, closing herself off in her illness. The kindest thing I can say is that this is a well-written study of major dysfunction. And some of Guzeman's descriptions were so well done that I could actually see what she was describing.

Oct 29, 2013
  • Bearwomyn rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

It took me a while to get into it, but once I did, I was hooked and liked this book VERY much. Not so much a who-dun-it, as a where-are-they. This story is a tangle of one complex family and an illustrious, legendary artist. He effected the girls when they were girls...which in turn made him effect the women, when they were women. He struggles through his fame, unable to hold relationships, unable to open the doors to his heart very wide or for very long. The women move on and make due with a chasm of unspoken resentment and pain stuck fast between them. This was a real story, plausible. Misunderstanding, lack of communication, assumption. Love, fear, misconception, lies and secrets. Ornithology, birdsong, hands reaching out into nothingness, crippling illness, money and peerless art. Abandoned children, mothers in prison, mothers in secret, mothers dead. The twists were indeed twisty and surprising. A reminder about what life can look like at 'the end' when we've lived with our heads in the sand. End game. Who loses? Who flies away? Who joins the flock?


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