The Swan Thieves: A Novel

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The Swan Thieves: A Novel

by Elizabeth Kostova

Little, Brown And Company | January 12, 2010 | Hardcover

The Swan Thieves: A Novel is rated 3 out of 5 by 9.
Psychiatrist Andrew Marlow, devoted to his profession and the painting hobby he loves, has a solitary but ordered life. When renowned painter Robert Oliver attacks a canvas in the National Gallery of Art and becomes his patient, Marlow finds that order destroyed. Desperate to understand the secret that torments the genius, he embarks on a journey that leads him into the lives of the women closest to Oliver and a tragedy at the heart of French Impressionism.

Kostova''s masterful new novel travels from American cities to the coast of Normandy, from the late 19th century to the late 20th, from young love to last love. THE SWAN THIEVES is a story of obsession, history''s losses, and the power of art to preserve human hope.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 576 pages, 9.75 × 6.5 × 2 in

Published: January 12, 2010

Publisher: Little, Brown And Company

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0316065781

ISBN - 13: 9780316065788

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Much Preferred to The Historian Personally, I am enjoying this book tremendously. It is spooky enough to keep me interested, I care about and enjoy the passion and eccentricity of the characters and am actually going to be able to finish this one! After countless times starting The Historian and becoming stone bored around halfway through each time, I'm thrilled that this story is so much more enjoyable! Give it a chance particularly if you're an artist - I think you'll like it.
Date published: 2014-04-08
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Eight Bookcases Check out my review of Kostova's work on my blog at: http://8bookcases.blogspot.ca/2012/04/swan-thieves-by-elizabeth-kostova.html
Date published: 2012-04-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Falls Short of "The Historian" “The Swan Thieves” wasn’t at all what I was expecting after reading Elizabeth Kostova’s amazing book “The Historian”. I wanted history, excitement...I wanted to turn page after page and totally get lost in the book...but I didn’t. Instead I found myself forcing my way through a lot of the beginning pages. I grew bored and irritated by not knowing who the mysterious woman was for most of the book. Once i reached the ending pages i found myself liking the book much more, but perhaps i was just glad to get it over with and move on to something new. Although well written, Kostova's book wasn't enough to be memorable.
Date published: 2011-05-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova I really wanted to love The Swan Thieves as much as I loved The Historian but it just didn't capture my interest the way The Historian did. Novels that incorporate art of any kind and art history usually fascinate me. Some readers do not like a multitude of technical details and find they bog down the storyline, but for me I find they only enhance a story and make it more interesting. I thought The Swan Thieves would have such content for the size of the book but it really doesn't, though being lushly detailed its much more about the emotional journeys, obsessions and passions of the main characters in the story, with a bit of mystery thrown in. Unfortunately the mystery was not very suspenseful, more of a slow burn, darts of menace rather than a blaze of shocks. Kostova's prose and development of plot and characters are first rate though. It was satisfying to read a novel where a lot of care is taken with the development of the characters, background events, description and dialogue. On a side note this book had all sorts of interesting new words I have never encountered before like ecumenical and numinously. If you want to read a finely crafted novel, with intriguing characters, that you can immerse yourself in, and explores the darker human emotions of obsession, fear, entrapment, jealousy and deception, I would recommend The Swan Thieves. If you are looking for an exciting, suspenseful read I would take a pass.
Date published: 2010-08-27
Rated 3 out of 5 by from AN OBSESSION AND A QUEST This is the second book by the author of THE HISTORIAN. If you are looking for another suspenseful page turner with a supernatural element then you might be a little disappointed by this effort. This book moves along at a more languid pace, told through narratives by the three principal characters and through old love letters. The book combines the themes of overpowering obsession and personal quest. Both finally explained and resolved in the last few pages. I enjoyed this book because the story backdrop was art and the impressionists. For someone not as intrigued with the subject matter I could see this as being perceived as a boring read.
Date published: 2010-03-18
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Too long This book started out with potential but quickly fell apart for me. The book is way too long and the story drags on. This book could have been great, but it fell short in so many ways. The story of a mentally ill artist attacking a painting seemed fascinating....until I read the book and ending. Some examples of the "falling apart": 1- the unrealistic, not to mention unethical, over and beyond patient/doctor relationship on a psychiatric ward!! (NO Dr. does that!), 2-the long winded, wordy chapters about Robert's life and their own lives told by Mary & Kate, 3-the ending!!! What a shame. This entire book was based on the mystery of Robert, his mental breakdown (or long standing diagnosis of bipolar disorder, which is never mentioned in the book), his attack on a painting, and his obsession. But the ending was so ridiculous, I was actually mad because I had to endure 100+ chapters!! The mystery is solved by the "hero" of the book--a middle aged unethical psychiatrist, and the patient (after 12 months of being in his care) is miraculously healed!!! What a disappointment.
Date published: 2010-03-16
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Huge disappointment Elizabeth Kostova's "The Historian" was one of my favorite books, so I eagerly anticipated "The Swan Thieves". Never have I been so disappointed in a book. The protagonist, psychiatrist Andrew Marlow, was an insipid character, not to mention a totally unethical practitioner, and the historical ties to great artists and paintings uninteresting. Marlow and his love interest, Mary, had no chemistry, and her narrative parts were so boring I skipped most of them. I kept hoping the story would improve, but alas, it did not. When authors use too many words to describe what characters (Marlow) eat for meals and how they get from point A to point B, when neither is signifigant to the plot, you know you're in trouble. What a waste of a potentially great character, Robert, as well as my time and money.
Date published: 2010-03-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A full cast of readers The release of The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova was highly anticipated, following the best seller success of her first novel The Historian. It did not disappoint. The cover art is 'Leda' c.1832. Art is at the heart of this novel. Robert Oliver is an extremely talented artist. When he attacks the painting 'Leda' in the National Gallery, no one can understand why. Oliver ends up in a psychiatric hospital with Dr. Andrew Marlowe assigned to his case. Marlowe himself paints for a hobby. Oliver refuses to speak, but continues drawing and painting - the same woman over and over again. Robert has in his possession a packet of letters from the late 1800's. They may hold the key to the mystery woman. Marlowe himself becomes obsessed, seeking out the women in Robert's past in an attempt to help Robert. But the search and the need for answers soon consume Marlowe as well. The mystery is of course a large part of the plot, but Kostova's prose play just as large a part. Her language is beautiful and the letters from the 1800's completely capture the time, societal aspects and emotions of the painter Beatrice de Clerval -Vignot. The layers are subtly built, story upon story as we learn of both Robert and Beatrice's lives. I listened to this in audio format. I was thrilled by the format Hachette Books used to produce The Swan Thieves. It is a full cast production with five readers. Treat Williams plays Marlowe. His voice is calm, modulated and perfectly portrays a psychiatrist. Anne Heche read as Robert's wife. At first I wasn't sure about this casting, but again, perfect for the part. Three other lesser known but perfectly cast actors rounded out the ensemble. One role is that of the French female painter from the 1800's. Once in a while I found myself thinking 'wascally wabbit' of her French accent, but this is only a very minor observation. It was like listening to a full radio play. Those looking for a fast paced, suspenseful read would not enjoy this book. It is a slow, thoughtful listen, one to enjoy - which I did. I must confess though that I was somewhat disappointed by the ending, which after 17 hours of build up, was over in about 5 minutes. The mystery is solved, but the resolution with Robert was left wanting in my opinion.
Date published: 2010-03-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from truely amazing The swan thieves opens with the almost destruction of Leda, from there the story follow the protagonist Andrew Marlow, who is a psychologist. Becomes involved with the attacker, Robert Oliver, when the case is recommended to him by an old friend, because of Marlow's own love of panting. From there the story goes in to following the idea of obsession, be it with love or finding the true of people. This novel is a fun ride that goes into the history of art and shows us the extremes that one will go to achieve what they want, there are also twist that you won't see coming. If you enjoy this book then you should also pick up Elizabeth Kostova other book "The Historian".
Date published: 2010-03-03

– More About This Product –

The Swan Thieves: A Novel

by Elizabeth Kostova

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 576 pages, 9.75 × 6.5 × 2 in

Published: January 12, 2010

Publisher: Little, Brown And Company

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0316065781

ISBN - 13: 9780316065788

About the Book

Psychiatrist Andrew Marlowe, devoted to his profession and the painting hobby he loves, has a solitary but ordered life. When renowned painter Robert Oliver attacks a canvas in the National Gallery of Art and becomes his patient, Marlow finds that order destroyed. Desperate to understand the secret that torments the genius, he embarks on a journey that leads him into the lives of the women closest to Oliver and a tragedy at the heart of French Impressionism. Kostova's masterful new novel travels from American cities to the coast of Normandy, from the late 19th century to the late 20th, from young love to last love. THE SWAN THIEVES is a story of obsession, history's losses, and the power of art to preserve human hope.

From the Publisher

Psychiatrist Andrew Marlow, devoted to his profession and the painting hobby he loves, has a solitary but ordered life. When renowned painter Robert Oliver attacks a canvas in the National Gallery of Art and becomes his patient, Marlow finds that order destroyed. Desperate to understand the secret that torments the genius, he embarks on a journey that leads him into the lives of the women closest to Oliver and a tragedy at the heart of French Impressionism.

Kostova''s masterful new novel travels from American cities to the coast of Normandy, from the late 19th century to the late 20th, from young love to last love. THE SWAN THIEVES is a story of obsession, history''s losses, and the power of art to preserve human hope.

About the Author

Elizabeth Kostova is the author of the international bestseller The Historian. She graduated from Yale and holds an MFA from the <_st13a_place _w3a_st="on"><_st13a_placetype _w3a_st="on">University of <_st13a_placename _w3a_st="on">Michigan, where she won the Hopwood Award for the Novel-in-Progress.
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