Alice haunted the mossy edge of the woods, lingering in patches of shade. She was waiting to hear his Austin-Healey throttle back when he careened down the utility road separating the state park from the cabins rimming the lake, but only the whistled conversation of buntings echoed in the branches above. The vibrant blue males darted deeper into the trees when she blew her own sweet-sweet chew-chew sweet-sweet up to theirs. Pine seedlings brushed against her pants as she pushed through the understory, their green heads vivid beneath the canopy. She had dressed to fade into the forest; her hair was bundled up under a long-billed cap, her clothes drab and inconspicuous. When at last she heard his car, she crouched behind a clump of birch and made herself as small as possible, settling into a shallow depression of ferns and leaf litter. Balancing her birding diary and a book of poetry in her lap, she peeled spirals of parchment from the trunks and watched as he wheeled into the gravel parking space at the head of his property.The Gravity of Birds
by Tracy Guzeman
Birds and art seem to figure prominently in this novel and, although I'm not especially knowledgeable about either, the story is totally absorbing. Alice is a teenage girl fascinated by birds and the man in the car is a soon-to-be-famous artist. Chapter 2 opens forty plus years later when the artist, now a recluse, calls an art historian and a disgraced young authenticator to sell a never-before-seen painting from the summer at the lake. It depicts Alice and her sister, along with the artist. The girls, now women, seem to have vanished. Dark secrets from that fateful summer are bound to emerge...
What do you think of the opening? Would you keep reading?
Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.