The Gravity of Birds
Simon & Schuster, 2013 (2013)
Reviewed by Barbara Lingens
n this immensely satisfying work, Tracy Guzeman has made an astonishing debut with a story that truly dazzles. A brilliant but eccentric artist depicts himself and two sisters in a painting discovered late in his life. An art history professor and an art authenticator are supposed to sell the painting. But to do so, they must first find the sisters.
heir journey of discovery is of course ours as well. And we are treated on the one hand to a lively exploration of art in all its ramifications and on the other to the simmering history of lives and loves gone astray. Each character in the story is fleshed out in just enough detail to allow us to understand how he or she meshes with the others. Each element of the story arrives at just the point it is needed and is always anticipated so it is not surprise we feel but satisfaction - another puzzle piece put into place.
n addition to the main characters, whose unique traits are well depicted, there are others also wonderfully realized as distinct personalities, and who also contribute to the story's progress. A quibble would be with one character, Therese, who is not as well developed and whose actions raise questions. Nevertheless, this is a work that deserves a wide audience. Highly recommended.
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