New release! For fans of The Age of Light and Z, a mystical, historical novel based on the true story of the twentieth century painters and occultists Remedios Varo and Leonora Carrington, each beginning as the muse of a famous lover and then breaking away to become an icon in her own right through a powerful friendship that springs from their connection to the tarot.
Desperate to escape the Nazis, painter Remedios Varo and her lover, poet Benjamin Peret, flee Paris for Villa Air Bel, a safe house for artists on the Riviera. Along with Max Ernst, Peggy Guggenheim, and others, the two anxiously wait for exit papers. As the months pass, Remedios begins to sense that the others don’t see her as a fellow artist; they have cast her in the stifling role of a surrealist ideal: the beautiful innocent. She finds a refuge in a mysterious bookshop, where she stumbles into a world of occult learning and intensifies an esoteric practice in the tarot that helps her light the bright fire of her creative genius.
When travel documents come through, Remedios and Benjamin flee to Mexico where she is reunited with friend and fellow painter Leonora Carrington. Together, the women tap their creativity, stake their independence, and each find their true loves. But it is the tarot that enables them to access the transcendent that lies on the other side of consciousness, to become the truest Surrealists of all.
From an author with “an enchanting, intoxicating voice” (Cristina Alger, author of The Darlings), Alchemy of a Blackbird is about a dynamic female friendship that became a historic artistic collaboration between two giants of the art world.
By Claire McMillan. Hardcover. 288 pages. Published by Atria Books, 2023.