A sculptor in 1920s New York and a writer in 2020s Liguria connect over the great question of what makes true art.
DAS GEWICHT EINES VOGELS BEIM FLIEGEN
(The Weight of a Bird in Flight)
by Dana Grigorcea
Penguin, February 2024
In 1926, full of hope and longing, the ambitious young sculptor Constantin Avis moves to New York. A famous gallery owner wants to take him under his wing and facilitate his great breakthrough in this city of dreams. Constantin floats through his new life buoyed by an exciting new love affair, and the prospect of success – but threatens to lose touch with reality. How far can his art really take him? A whole century later, this is the question that Dora sets out to answer. It is early springtime on the Ligurian coast, and she is working on a novel about Constantin. She has moved here together with her son and a nanny, to find the peace that usually eludes her in her everyday life as an artist and mother. But the deeper she dives, the more her own story becomes intertwined with Constantin’s. Eventually, she realises that she can answer the sculptor’s questions only with her own life. An exceptionally charming tale of the unbreakable bond between art and life – as light as a feather, and yet so powerful that its thoughts will linger with you for a long time.
The Swiss-Romanian writer Dana Grigorcea was born in Bucharest in 1979 and has a degree in German and Dutch studies. She has won worldwide acclaim for her novels and short stories, including An Instinctive Feeling of Innocence and The Lady with the Maghrebi Dog. Her novel Those Who Never Die won the 2022 Swiss Book Prize and was longlisted for the 2021 German Book Prize. Dana Grigorcea is also the winner of the prestigious 2015 Ingeborg Bachmann/3sat Award. Her books have been translated into numerous languages.