“Toronto novelist Antanas Sileika infuses everything he creates with an intelligent, human touch that makes his writing a pleasure to read.”
–Books in Canada
“[Sileika] is a craftsman of great heart and integrity. This is a novel of ideas that never loses touch with the basic humanity at its core. At turns magical, funny, sad, and powerful, it explores the unexpected results of artistic ambition and envy.”
–Quill & Quire
Tomas Stumbras grew up in war-torn Eastern Europe: a dark, rainy land of misty grey hills and valleys, where the whispers of the ancient gods and devils are still heard by ordinary people. He is a sculptor with a gift for turning dead wood into protective saints for use in prayer, but it’s 1917 and even remote Lithuania feels the transforming effects of World War I. Caught between the destruction around him and his own drive to create, Tomas must abandon the stability of home and family and strike out on his own.
Tomas moves from his thatched wooden farmhouse to the vibrant streets and artistic community of Paris in the Roaring Twenties, where temptation and jealousy are right around the corner from brilliance, beauty and fame. Working as a carpenter in the Folies Bergère, he encounters the dance sensation Josephine Baker and falls for a lovely chorus girl. But even when he finally achieves his dream and becomes an artist, he discovers that success demands sacrifice – even when you find art and love, infamy and betrayal aren’t far behind.
Epic in scope and beautifully evocative of time and place,Woman in Bronze reveals a life lived in extremes. It tells a story of love found and lost, creative endeavour and the price of celebrity and stardom.
“The scope of this recent novel is epic and Sileika’s themes are both broad and universal… Bravo, Sileika, for capturing this struggle for artistic integrity in a compelling and highly readable novel.”
“The novel never loses an underlying intelligence that repays meditation on the part of the reader, a process aided by a prose that keeps itself in trim order.”
–The Toronto Star
Random House Canada, August 2004