Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Swan Thieves--My Review

I finished this book about a month ago. It's well worth your time.

Elizabeth Kostova's first book, The Historian, may well go down as my favorite novel of all time.  If this one doesn't take its place.
The Swan Thieves is a mystery, but not just any mystery.  This is a mystery solved by a psychiatrist--Andrew Marlow--who longs to be a painter.  His patient, Robert Oliver, is a painter, and it's Marlow's job--more his quest--to discover the reason behind Oliver's attack on a painting in the National Gallery in Washington, D.C.  She weaves real artists and places and paintings so carefully into her make-believe tapestry that, unless you're an art historian, Kostova will leave you wondering where reality ends and her world begins.
The novel appears predictable in the middle, and it kind of is, truth be told.  But that doesn't spoil the beauty of her writing or the satisfying conclusion.

Something about her writing resonates with me--
"Life and I became friends some years ago--not the sort of exciting friendship I longed for as a child, but a kindly truce, a pleasure in coming home very day to my apartment on Kalorama Road.  I have a moment now and then--as I peel an orange and take it from kitchen counter to table--when I feel almost a pang of contentment, perhaps at the raw color. . . 
"For myself, I have learned to dream small--a leaf, a new paintbrush, the flesh of an orange, and the details of my wife's beauty, a glistening at the corners of her eyes, the soft hair of her arms in our living room's lamplight when she sits reading."

I have just such an agreement with life--my small dreams include combing wispy blond hair after a bath, a furious light saber fight, and the feeling of home--commotion, chaos, and love of family.

Hope you take the time.


  1. I'll have to add that to my library hold list...I'm always on the look out for good books, especially with winter coming. Nothing like reading a good book on a cold day!

  2. Definitely adding this to my "to be read" list!! Sounds great!

  3. I always appreciate a good recommendation. Thanks

  4. I need a new beach read (we are going soon!)...I'll see if it's at the library.

  5. I haven't read a book in a few weeks. Maybe I'll consider this one...

  6. STILL haven't read the I have to get on that!

  7. I just picked up a book, but these sound intriguing :) Thanks for the suggestions! K said she had a nice visit with you on Sat. She just sent us an mp3 attachment of part of her concert. We told her she should send it to you, too.

  8. Sounds interesting...and a bit different than my usual fare. I'll have to give it a go.

    Thanks, Jen.


  9. Thanks Jen, I am soo in need of some new reading material.

  10. Always looking for a good book. Thanks!