How do you find someone who wants to be lost?
Sisters Natalie and Alice Kessler were close,
until adolescence wrenched them apart. Natalie is headstrong, manipulative, and
beautiful; Alice is a dreamer who loves books and birds. During their family’s
summer holiday at the lake, Alice falls under the thrall of a struggling young
painter, Thomas Bayber, in whom she finds a kindred spirit. Natalie, however,
remains strangely unmoved, sitting for a family portrait with surprising
indifference. But by the end of the summer, three lives are shattered.
Decades later, Bayber, now a reclusive,
world-renowned artist, unveils a never before seen work: Kessler Sisters,
a provocative painting depicting the young Thomas, Natalie, and Alice. Bayber
asks art history professor Dennis Finch and eccentric
young art authenticator Stephen Jameson to sell the painting for him. But that task becomes more
complicated when the artist requires that they first locate Natalie and Alice,
who seem to have vanished. Finch soon finds himself wondering why Thomas is
suddenly so intent on resurrecting the past.
In The Gravity of Birds histories and memories refuse to stay buried; in the end only the excavation of the past will enable its survivors to love again.
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