Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Swan Thieves

I finally finished the doorstopper that is Elizabeth Kostova's The Swan Thieves early this morning. I stayed over night at my mother's and was woken up by her alarm clock just before 7 this morning.

Anyway - I had never read her debut, The Historian, but was impressed by all the critical acclaim so picked this one up because the story sounded interested.

The novel was s-l-o-w to start for me and continued to plod along jumping from the present to the past and back again as the parallel stories unfolded.  The ending came together well enough, although it felt hasty - almost like Kostova had decided about 500 pages in that it was time to wrap things up.    I'm glad I finished it but am doubtful that I'll be reading any more of her titles in the future.

From the back cover:
This richly told, beautifully imagined novel takes us on a journey into the lives of the women left behind by the renowned painter Robert Oliver.

After attacking a canvas in the National Gallery of Art, Oliver maintains a stubborn silence, prompting his psychiatrist, Andrew Marlow, to embark on an unconventional pursuit of the answers his patient won't provide.  As Marlow is pulled deeper within Oliver's troubled mind, he uncovers a tale of love, betrayal, and artistic obsession, and finds surprising possibilities in a package of nineteenth-century love letters.  Does the key to unlocking Robert Oliver's mystery lie in a tragedy at the heart of French Impressionism?

Across centuries and continents, from young love to last love, Elizabeth Kostova deftly explores the painter's universe - passion, creativity, secrets, madness - and conjures a world that lingers long after the final page has turned.


Mo said...

I find it difficult to continue with a book that doesn't start well. All though I will try and perservere

AzĂșcar said...

Having read both, I highly recommend you read The Historian. I think you hit the nail on the head about Swan. The Historian is a much better and more engaging read.

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