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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
Single-mindedness is a virtue with which Akira Kumo, Hiroshima survivor and successful couturier, is intimately acquainted. Reinventing himself, he fled war-torn Japan and moved to Paris, where he established a reputation as a designer with an exquisite eye and a quick hand. Decades have passed since his miraculous survival; he is now wealthy and respected and is finally able to pursue his true passion: collecting every work about clouds and meteorology in existence.
Kumo hires Virginie, a young librarian, to catalog the works he possesses and to track those he has yet to acquire. Virginie's interest in clouds is limited to weather patterns, so she finds Kumo's fascination with them mysterious and unsettling. At work in his library, Kumo regales her with stories of those whose devotion has equaled his own: the Quaker Luke Howard, a contemporary of Goethe's who spent his life classifying clouds; Carmichael, an artist who spent a year painting them; and Abercrombie, a photographer who filled portfolios with his catalogs of clouds. It is not until Virginie embarks on an unexpected trip to London to secure an elusive work of Abercrombie's that she discovers a passion of her own.
Intertwining stories both real and fanciful, Audeguy has fashioned a splendidly original first novel reminiscent of the lyricism of Kazuo Ishiguro and the keen intelligence of Julian Barnes, yet fully his own. (Holiday 2007 Selection)