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308 pages ; 21 cm
|| "Always an outsider, and disowned by her bourgeois family, Ivory Frame arrives in Paris to study art, and quickly finds her true home among the avant-garde painters and poets who crowd the city's cafes. In fellow painter Tacita, she finds the sister she never had. In the Zoological Gardens, she finds a subject for her art capable of fascinating her endlessly. And in Lev, the brooding, haunted Russian émigré painter fleeing the Revolution and destined for greatness, she finds the love that will mark her life forever. But she loses all this, and more, when the Second World War sweeps away the life she has only just discovered. In her grief, she turns to the project she had begun in Paris, and which will consume the rest of her life: a dictionary of animal languages. Part science, and art, the dictionary strives to transcribe the wordless yearning of animals, the lonely and love-laden cries that expect no response. By nature solitary herself, Ivory withdraws fully into herself as she pursues her life's work. Until the discovery of one of Lev's paintings from 1940, inscribed to Ivory and now worth a fortune, brings to light a secret from her time in Paris that even Ivory could never guess. Now in her nineties, she is forced to acknowledge afresh all she has lost, and also to find meaning and beauty in a world defined by longing."-- Provided by publisher.