The Animal Gazer (Paperback)
New Vessel Press, 9781939931528, 128pp.
Publication Date: January 16, 2018
"Limpid, laser-sharp prose ... It's difficult not to love the eccentric, fragile Rembrandt Bugatti and suffer alongside him."--The New York Times Book Review
A hypnotic novel inspired by the strange and fascinating life of sculptor Rembrandt Bugatti, brother of the fabled automaker. With World War I closing in and the Belle poque teetering to a close, Bugatti leaves his native Milan for Paris, where he encounters Rodin and casts his bronzes at the same foundry used by the French master. In Paris and then Antwerp, he obsessively observes and sculpts the baboons, giraffes, and panthers in the municipal zoos, finding empathy with their plight and identifying with their life in captivity. As the Germans drop bombs over the Belgian city, the zoo authorities are forced to make a heart-wrenching decision about the fate of the caged animals, and Bugatti is stricken with grief from which he'll never recover. Rembrandt Bugatti's work, now being rediscovered, is displayed in major art museums around the world and routinely fetches large sums at auction. Edgardo Franzosini recreates the young artist's life with intense lyricism, passion, and sensitivity.
Edgardo Franzosini, born in 1952, is the author of five novels. The Animal Gazer won two distinguished Italian literary awards in 2016, the Premio Comisso and the Premio Dessi.
Reading group guide to The Animal Gazer is available free of charge at newvesselpress.com.