Moving from Paris to Italy to North America, a sensuous, heartbreaking novel about art, beauty, star-crossed lovers, and the choices that define our lives, from the award-winning author of Summer Gone.
A young man arrives in Paris in 1968, where a series of unlikely events lead him to a tiny village in Italy—and to the great love of his life. A marble merchant meets a couple on their honeymoon, introducing them to the sensual beauty of Carrara. An Italian woman travels to Canada on an odyssey to find the father she never knew. A terrible accident in a marble quarry changes the course of a young boy’s life and, ultimately, sets in motion each of these stories, which David Macfarlane masterfully chisels into a magnificent whole.
Oliver Hughson falls in love with wild, bohemian Anna over the course of one glorious summer in Italy. Bound by a sense of responsibility to his adoptive parents, he leaves her and returns home—an act he will regret for the rest of his life. Through luck or fate, Oliver had found the woman with whom he was meant to be. And now he must try to find his way back to her.
Narrated by the daughter Oliver never knew he had, The Figures of Beauty is a love story of mythic proportions that reminds us of the powerful bond that can connect two people indelibly across oceans and time.
“A beautifully contemplative first novel about fathers and sons, memory, and the spirituality of wilderness.”
Praise for The Danger Tree: “About the best prose to ever come out of this country, for my money.”
“Summer Gone is a homage to our most excruciating and beautiful memories. Within this novel is the marvellous height of summer, perfect and fleeting, a place and time we can never get enough of.”
“The Figures of Beauty is a rich, imaginative novel about art, life and beauty. It’s epic in scale but intimate in tone, with Macfarlane’s prose as crisp and pure as Carrara marble. One of the best novels I’ve read all year.”
“A beautifully written, complex, and bittersweet story that spans continents and eras. Macfarlane teases his story to the surface as meticulously as his sculptors (Michelangelo, Brancusi) extracted their forms from marble - and always with a vivid sense of place, from a small Ontario community to the hill towns of Carrera.”
“Macfarlane skillfully evokes an atmosphere at once somber and slightly ominous.”
“A meditation on the degree to which we mortals really lack much control over our lives…Sub-textually, Figures of Beauty is also an aesthetic treatise of the human impulse to make beauty, to create art. And Macfarlane tells this story in a deeply affecting way.”
“A complex, densely written and dreamlike narrative…. A moving tale of love, fate and regret.”
“Macfarlane sculpts several disparate tales into a smooth, rock-solid whole. His ambitions are high, but in a language as rich as the fruits of the scenic landscapes in which he situates his characters and their stories, he pulls off a far grander narrative with skill and intrigue.”