Psychiatrist Andrew Marlowe has a perfectly ordered life--solitary, perhaps, but full of devotion to his profession and the painting hobby he loves. This order is destroyed when renowned painter Robert Oliver attacks a canvas in the National Gallery of Art and becomes his patient. In response, Marlowe finds himself going beyond his own legal and ethical boundaries to understand the secret that torments this genius, a journey that will lead him into the lives of the women closest to Robert Oliver and toward a tragedy at the heart of French Impressionism.
Ranging from American museums to the coast of Normandy, from the late 19th century to the late twentieth, from young love to last love, The Swan Thieves is a story of obsession, the losses of history, and the power of art to preserve human hope.
©2010 Elizabeth Kostova; (P)2010 Hachette
This book was gripping from the beginning. The author is definitley very skilled. The narrative very good and the descriptive sense very high. A crescendo then a terible weak ending. One expected so much more! The grand finale was very deceiving.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story, I found myself looking forward to my commutes and this is usually a good gauge for me. The narration was quite good and well suited to the characters I thought. I was not bored with the story - maybe because I have an art background and loved the subject, but it was really very well done with a lot going on especially at the end of the storyline. It may not be for everyone - but then what story is!
I enjoyed the story and its premise; however Treat Williams was a huge disappointment, using a very dry sing-song voice. I would have thought an actor would do a better job. I was however very engaged in the female readers stories.
i thought this was a nice mix of true art, and the lines some meet, with mental breakdown. blurring the lines of the fiction we make and what we chose the believe or act on. All the characters matter in this novel.
whew...i listened for hours and hours and finally give up in the last ninety minutes. a long run for what was becoming a short jump. treat williams reads every sentence with the same "melody", very sing-song. basically, the book should have been half as long...and i don't know if it would have been worth it even then.
Do not expect any similarity to Kostova's first novel. This one is intriguing initially, with the time shifts between current day, and late 19th Century France. The narrators do a good job of presenting the nuances of very finely "drawn" characters. However, as with too many notes in music, too many words, too many flashbacks, too many unresolved questions...all create a feeling of disappointment and a gradual wearing down of interest, to the point that I just finally gave up two thirds of the way through. Maybe I'll go back to it in a few months and finish, because I do love Elizabeth's writing style.
I enjoyed The Historian and was waiting for the next Kostova book. I've been stuck in part 1 and am giving up. I just don't care about anyone in this book.
And allow for double the listening time because you will be constantly falling asleep... most especially throughout Treat Williams' readings. I don't place the whole blame on Treat Williams; Anne Heche was shrill (I get it - her character was shrill - but it was still very annoying). Finally, and ultimately, I don't think the greatest narrator could have saved this slow and tedious book.
This book was full of it's self and tedious. There was no point to reading it. Much of it was written in letters which no one would write to a stranger. It was an art history lesson written as fiction - yuk!
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