A good listen and easy to get wrapped up in. You'll like the characters and the pace of the book.
The resolution is slightly predictable and the major problem resolved a little too quick and clean right at the end, but this does not diminish the hours of the story and the beautiful building of the characters.
I loved The Historian. Read it twice. Listened once (it is abriged, booo!). In this book I really miss Dracula. The characters are so timid it makes me grind my teeths. They meet in scenes where near to nothing happens and they all keep track of what food they were eating, the color and texture of what clothes they were wearing and what the other perons wore, in those scenes where nothing happened. They are all so educated (to be polite) that they would never call a painting a painting but always a "canvas". Now if only the Prince of Darkness would pop up among them to spice things up - to bring some tension to the story and some urgency to the characters. But - no such luck.
The Swan thieves was a lovely listen and It held a grand mystery that grips your attention. It truly made you want to follow the story to the end. Its use of different viewpoints and time-periods was fantastic.
That being said, the characters themselves all felt rather selfish and some downright unlikable. Plus after listening to this book for hours and hours and expecting some reward for sitting patiently through hours of well-written if useless exposition the ending was just......blah. There was no end really it just kinda of ...trailed off and decided it was done. I felt cheated.
The book is beautiful but the end falls flat. I still recommend it to anyone who loves a well written book (but be prepared to listen to alot of people talking about painting)
Dr. Andrew Marlowe receives a patient recommendation from a friend of his on a painter named Robert Oliver. Oliver was recently arrested for trying to stab a painting entitled The Swan Thieves. Oliver speaks to Marlowe only once, upon his first admittance to the psych hospital where he will be treated and refuses to speak again. Marlowe goes above and beyond, talking to Oliver's ex-wife, ex-lover, ex-colleagues and ex-acquaintances to try to get to the root of his problems. In the meantime, Oliver stays in his room at the hospital, being the perfect patient, painting the same woman over and over and over again. Who is this woman? Why does she have such a profound affect on Robert? And is she what drove him to the attack on the painting? Marlowe goes off in search of all of these answers to help his troubled patient, and the answers are not at all what he expected.
I listened to the audio version of this. I found the story a little hard to follow. The narrators of the letters from Paris in the late 1800's reminded me so much of Antonio Banderas' voice I would giggle when they came on. The reading was very well done; Treat Williams as the lead Andrew Marlowe. However the narration and performance of one of the characters was so poignant, so strong, and so heartbreaking, that it garnered this review another star. Anne Heche as the voice of Kate Oliver, Robert's ex-wife. Her appearance is fairly brief, but her reading was the icing on the cake for me. I was almost in tears by the end of her section. I think if I would have read the book instead of listening to it I would not have finished it.
I really enjoyed this novel. It was hauntingly lovely, and the readers were superb. I was very impressed with Sarah Zimmerman and John Lee, who read French-speaking characters, which can be particularly tricky. Ms. Zimmerman was especially charming. She made her character positively sparkle! Thank you, Elizabeth Kostova, and thank you to the entire cast for one of the most enjoyable listens I've heard this year!
I love to paint and this book inspired me to do more. It was a wonderful story and very well performed. The ending didn't wrap everything up, as others have said, but it was fitting to the story. This one left me thinking about it for a long time. Definitely worth listening to.
I loved this book (as well as her first, The Historian). The narration was so good! Several different people were used to tell this beautiful story. One of my favorite book listening experiences. I purchased the hard copy for a friend and have recommended it to many. If you love art and love romance this is the book for you.
This was my first Kostova book and I gotta say, if you are not a fan, think again about spending the money on this book. I tried 4, yes 4, times to get past the beginning of this book but found it too painful to proceed further. Most surprisingly, I love Treat Williams but found his narration tedious. He sounded as uninterested in the material as I was.
It was a slow start and the narrator's voice takes a little getting used to but once you are caught up in the history and romance of it all it is worth the time. Definitely for grown-ups only. If you love sci-fi/action then this is not for you. It did however make me want to sketch again.
I have waited anxiously for two years for a new book by Kostova. I loved The Historian so much I've listened to it twice and gave copies of the book to everyone for Christmas when it first came out. Kostova's writing style is fabulous but I kept waiting for something exciting to happen. I was hoping it had something mysterious like a ghost or reincarnation...anything to spice it up. I'll definitely read more reviews before I hurridly buy another book just because I like the author.