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The Gravity of Birds


The Gravity of Birds

Alice was thoughtful, bright, and interested in birds and nature. Her older sister, Natalie, was lovely to look at but cunning and full of deception. They were close as young girls, but a family vacation at the lake changed their relationship abruptly and forever.

Thomas, a charismatic young artist, occupied the cottage next to the rental where the Kessler family was vacationing. Natalie seemed quite indifferent to Thomas, while Alice visited him and kept him company as he worked. They discussed birds and nature, which Alice loved. Thomas, who was twice Alice's age at the time, enjoyed her outspoken nature and intelligence. One day, Alice accidentally discovered a colored pencil sketch of a naked Natalie but told no one. She felt distraught that Natalie and Thomas would betray her in that manner. The secrets of the Kessler sisters had begun.

"It is a most unusual book, not especially easy to follow at times, but well written and definitely worth reading through to the end."

When an unfortunate accident claimed the lives of their parents, Natalie and Alice were forced to remain together for financial reasons, as well as Alice's increasing physical limitations brought about by rheumatoid arthritis. 

Over the years, Thomas became a successful and highly regarded artist. His work was studied and catalogued by Dennis, an art history professor and critic who became the expert on Thomas's work. Dennis had sacrificed a great deal to be at the artist's beck and call, which caused some tension in his otherwise happy marriage to the late Chloe.

Thomas had not painted in 20 years when he summoned Dennis and a rather obscure art authenticator named Stephen for a challenging project involving a disturbing three-paneled oil painting of Thomas, Natalie and Alice. Dennis and Stephen were also instructed to find the sisters. They joined forces and were an awkward team at first as they traveled to various places attempting to locate Natalie, Alice and the two missing panels. The men got on each other's nerves, and their lack of progress only exacerbated things.

But then the searchers began to have little successes. Very, very slowly, the pieces of the puzzle came together. The closer Stephen and Dennis came to locating the whereabouts of the two sisters and the two missing panels, the more involved the plot became.

THE GRAVITY OF BIRDS reads more like a complicated mystery than a novel. Most of the time, the reader has no idea what clue will reveal itself on the next page. It is a most unusual book, not especially easy to follow at times, but well written and definitely worth reading through to the end.

Reviewed by Carole Turner on August 23, 2013

The Gravity of Birds
by Tracy Guzeman

  • Publication Date: July 1, 2014
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • ISBN-10: 1451689772
  • ISBN-13: 9781451689778