The Gravity of Birds: A Novel
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Date: August 2013
Duration: 12 hours 50 minutes
Alice Kessler and her older sister, Natalie, first met the brilliant young painter Thomas Bayber at the end of the summer in 1963, when they were vacationing with their parents in upstate New York. Both sisters were drawn to the artist, and their encounter with him that summer changed their lives, and their relationship with each other, forever.
Forty-four years later, Bayber is now a famous but dissolute artist, nearing the end of his life. Summoning Dennis Finch, an art history professor who has known Bayber for forty years, and Stephen Jameson, an eccentric young art authenticator at odds with himself, he reveals the existence of a previously unknown painting. Kessler Sisters is a disturbing work depicting the young Bayber, Alice, and Natalie. Bayber's desire to have the painting sold ignites a chain of events requiring Finch and Jameson to locate Alice and Natalie. But the sisters seem to have completely disappeared.
Told in alternating chapters that weave revelations about Alice’s past together with the search Finch and Jameson undertake in the present, this story sets three characters on a collision course with their pasts and speaks to the way families tear themselves apart, then try to bind themselves together again, not always resulting in the same fabric.