A poignant biographical novel about a WWI-era sculptor: “It’s difficult not to love the eccentric, fragile Rembrandt Bugatti and suffer alongside him” (The New York Times Book Review).
The Animal Gazer is 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 Époque teetering to a end, 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.
But 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 is displayed in major museums around the world, and in this prize-winning novel, “an irresistible, elegantly conceived example of biographical fiction,” Edgardo Franzosini recreates the young artist’s life with lyricism, passion, and sensitivity (Library Journal).
“The Animal Gazer takes you on a glorious journey into the heart of cosmopolitan Paris as you have never known it before. Through the life of Rembrandt Bugatti, a sculptor with the panache of his name, this lively, fast-paced narrative evokes an exceptional epoch in all its color and eccentric charm.” ―Nicholas Fox Weber, author of Le Corbusier: A Life