The Gravity of Birds by Tracy Guzeman is a story of two sisters. "Alice Kessler and her older sister, Natalie, first met the brilliant young painter Thomas Bayber in August 1963 while vacationing with their parents in upstate New York. Both sisters were drawn to Bayber, and their encounters with him changed their lives and their relationship with each other forever.
Forty-four years later, Bayber is a renowned yet dissolute artist nearing the end of his life. He summons Dennis Finch, who is an art history professor and expert on Bayber's work, and Stephen Jameson, a young art authenticator, to show them a previously unknown painting, Kessler Sisters, a disturbing work that depicts the young Bayber, Alice, and Natalie. Bayber's desire to have the painting sold requires that Finch and Jameson find Alice and Natalie. But the sisters have disappeared without a trace.
This emotionally gripping story weaves together the past and present, revealing the sisters' histories with Bayber as Finch and Jameson come closer to locating them, and learning the truth." ~Synopsis quoted from the book
I found this story compelling - another "hard to put down" type... The plot is multi-layered and comes with its share of twists and unexpected turns that one doesn't "see" coming. Guzeman is a gifted writer and more than once I found myself re-reading passages to enjoy her style of writing. I got the feeling the words of each and every sentence were carefully crafted. It is almost hard to believe this is the author's first novel, it is that well written.
Mystery, jealousy, love, heartache, loss, choices, forgiveness, they're all there, woven together in a captivating tale through flashbacks and present-day scenarios. The characters are well written, complex and very human in their flaws.
This would be a good Book Club selection. Another debut novel well worth reading...
"Literature duplicates the experience of living in a way that nothing else can, drawing you so fully into another life that you temporarily forget you have one of your own. That is why you read it, and might even sit up in bed till early dawn, throwing your whole tomorrow out of whack, simply to find out what happens to some people who, you know perfectly well, are made up." ~ Barbara Kingsolver