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The Gravity Of Birds (2013)

by Tracy Guzeman(Favorite Author)
3.83 of 5 Votes: 5
1451689764 (ISBN13: 9781451689761)
Simon & Schuster
review 1: This review is based on the FirstReads copy I was fortunate enough to win. A fascinating first novel that deals with relationships and the art world. The plot centers around the search for a previously unseen painting by a brilliant but reclusive painter, Thomas Bayber, who has not offered any new works in the past 20 years. Bayber enlists the help of an art history professor, Dennis Finch, and a struggling art authenticator, Stephen Jameson, to sell the painting. However, there is a twist to his seemingly simple request. Before Bayber will agree to sell this painting, Finch and Jameson must first track down the subjects of the painting, two sisters named Alice and Natalie Kessler, who seemingly disappeared. The story alternates between the present and the past, providing ... moreclues to the reader about the painting and its subjects, and the intertwined lives of the characters. The author did an excellent job of giving the characters distinctive voices and creating three dimensional and believable personalities, while providing a puzzle for the reader to solve. Included at the end was a reader's guide for book clubs with intriguing discussion questions and an interview with the author that enhanced the reading experience overall. Based on her first novel, I look forward to reading more by Ms. Guzeman. Thanks again to the FirstReads program for introducing me to another new author!
review 2: I started this book while vacationing with my family in a birdwatcher's paradise. The wings of house finches, doves, and jays blurred outside the windows, with an occasional hummingbird darting to and fro, as I sunk deeply into the story of the Kessler sisters, artist Thomas Bayber, and the 'detectives' Denny Finch and Stephen Jameson. I loved so much about this book from the quirky, flawed characters to the beautifully rendered geography to the presence of avian life throughout. What began as a book about an artist, two girls, and the missing sections of a triptych morphed unexpectedly into a compelling mystery shaped by family secrets and a weighty meditation on loss and regret. I might have given the book five stars, were it not for the questions I was left with about Natalie's pathological cruelty. I also appreciated the vibrancy of Agnete and would have enjoyed more of her. Perhaps a sequel... less
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It is hard to like a book with such a repulsive main character but it's interesting anyway.
A lovely novel, gripping at times and enjoyed the story.
Beautifully crafted. Couldn't put it down.
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