Monday, September 23, 2013

The Gravity of Birds; Tracy Guzeman

Author: Tracy Guzeman 
Publication Year:  2013
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster
Edition: arc/eGalley
Source: Amazon Vine/Edelweiss
Date Completed: Sept - 2013
Rating: 3/5 

Alice and Natalie Kessler were 14 and 16 years old sisters on vacation with their parents at the same lakeside cabin the family has rented for years.  This year, 1963, Thomas Bayber, a talented artist, is staying in the cabin next door.  The girls enjoy spending time with Thomas, talking about birds and nature, even though he is twice their age.  The girls exhibit typical sibling rivalry for the attention of Thomas, and because he lives close to where the family vacations, the sisters manage to see him every summer until 1971.

Flash forward to 2007 and Thomas is no longer painting. He lives the life of a recluse in NY. Thomas has a never before revealed work of himself and the sisters in a somewhat compromising portrait from one summer when they spent time together. The the side panels of the triptych  are missing and he enlists the help of (2) men in the art profession, Dennis, an authenticator and Stephen, a historian to not only find the missing panels, but also to find these long lost sisters.

It took me a while to get into this story as the beginning was a slow-moving for me.  This is the type of novel that is going to take patience on the part of the reader for several reasons: It's a story that starts in 1963 and ends in 2007, and moves back and forth in time. There are several threads which run though this story which is challenging in itself, and there are quite a few unlikable characters as well.

To the author's credit, the writing shows promise.  Vivid prose, a mystery to unravel and great details about art --- it's a subject you can tell the author is passionate about. I wanted to love this debut novel, but it had just a bit too much going on in it for me.


  1. The premise sounds good to me but I'd have to be in the right mood to tackle a book with a slow start.

    1. I know what you mean Kathy and this one just had a bit too much going on that needed to come together.

  2. This is near the top of my audible wish list (Cassandra Campbell is the narrator), but the slow start is making me think twice. Wonder if a good reader will make it easier to get into...

    1. Cassandra Campbell is a favorite of mine. Don't go by me, as others raved about it, but it does take patience.

  3. I think I like this one more than you did but I also listened to the audiobook and as JoAnn said it is Cassandra Campbell narrating and she does an awesome job.

  4. I have this one on my shelves and am looking forward to reading it! Glad to hear it was still a good read despite the slow start.


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