The Swan Thieves

The Swan Thieves 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

  • Title: The Swan Thieves
  • Author: Elizabeth Kostova
  • ISBN: 9780751541427
  • Page: 118
  • Format: Paperback
  • 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 th National Gallery of Art and becomes his patient Desperate to understand the secret that torments this genius, Marlowe embarks on a journey thaPsychiatrist 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 th National Gallery of Art and becomes his patient Desperate to understand the secret that torments this genius, Marlowe 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 nineteenth century to the late twentieth, from young love to last love The Swan Thieves is a story of obsession, history s losses, and the power of art to preserve hope.

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    About "Elizabeth Kostova"

    1. Elizabeth Kostova

      Elizabeth Z Johnson Kostova was born Elizabeth Z Johnson in New London, Connecticut and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee where she graduated from the Webb School of Knoxville She received her undergraduate degree from Yale University and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Michigan, where she won the 2003 Hopwood Award for her Novel in Progress She is married to a Bulgarian scholar Her first novel, The Historian, was published in 2005, and it has become a best seller.Kostova released her second novel The Swan Thieves on January 12, 2010.


    1. I'm sorry First Reads program. First I win a book I only entered to win to tear it apart, and then I win this book which I also didn't like. But please believe me that I didn't go into this book hating it, I had an open mind. Please take this into account and send me more books for free please!!A whole lot of my friends here on seemed to really like Kostova's first novel, The Historian (with the exception of Kasia, who seemed to feel about the same way that I feel about this book). I don't rea [...]

    2. 4.5 starsI am by no means artistic or creative, but this seductively written book immersed me in the world of art in a way that left me simply aching for more. I wanted to jump in the car, take a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the National Gallery, and sit quietly with the beauty of the paintings all around me. The world and the mind of the artist appealed to me in a way that pleasantly surprised me and wholly captivated me. Robert Oliver, a notable artist, has attempted to attack a p [...]

    3. I think the reason that this book seems to polarise opinion is because nothing much happens in it. Psychologist Robert Marlowe acquires the renowned painter Robert Oliver as his patient, and subsequently travels around meeting people who might be able to shed some light on the reasons behind Oliver's breakdown. The majority of the book comprises the memories and insights of these people told in the voice of that particular individual, and so takes place outside the narrative which is really a co [...]

    4. About 20 pages in I thought, this is crap, but I kept reading because I loved The Historian. In retrospect, I should have stopped because this book was so badly written and just such a waste of time it made the Da Vinci Code look wonderful by comparison. Every single character was an annoying pompous jackass and I hope they all die horribly.A better, more thoughtful review as to the multitude of reasons behind my hating this book will be forthcoming. And they are legion! From glaring continuity [...]

    5. It has been a long time since I've read a book that made me hungry for the next word, whose 400 pages (or so) flew by in an instant, and that after finishing it, I could scarcely breathe and think about anything else for the next few hours. Even the day after, I find my mind drifting to the complex plot, the inscrutable and complicated characters and mulling over the series of events, to see if there could have been any other way the story could have ended, or even begun. I decided that no, the [...]

    6. I can’t believe that the average rating on this book is only 3.41! I think because of that lowish average I went in to this book expecting a little less…but I thought this book was amazing. The whole time I was reading it, I thought, if I was to ever write a book, this is what I would want the voice to sound like. I absolutely loved her use of language, her writing style--great detail, but not overdone, beautiful character development with just enough left to the imagination. Robert was for [...]

    7. There were things I enjoyed in this novel including some of the writing with its descriptions of art, although, all in all, it was much about nothing. It took too long for the parallel stories to merge and to be connected, and by the time it was done, I was fed up and just wanted to be done with it. I would probably not recommend it to my friends.

    8. The Swan Thieves, Elizabeth Kostova's sophomore effort after The Historian, is altogether a very satisfying experience from beginning to end. It's nearly 600 pages long, and luckily it uses the pages well. It doesn't lag or become dull in places; instead, it moves forward at a slow but steady pace and reveals secrets bit by bit. Kostova lays out the pieces quite clearly so that even a half-attentive reader will figure out the secrets before they're explicitly confirmed. Some reviews have suggest [...]

    9. I want to watch an artist paint, to smell the fumes emanating from the paint brush, to see the forms take shape on the once-blank canvas. I want to feel the intensity of an artist's focus.Maybe this is why this book captured my reading sensibility and transported me to Robert Oliver's world of impressionism and mystique. I didn't quite grasp the intruding figure that shackled this painter's mind and left him a bit unhinged, but the sanity of the artist has never been mine to understand. I choose [...]

    10. After loving The Historian I was looking forward to reading Ms. Kostova's sophomore effort. I really couldn't have been more thrilled when I won it from a First Reads giveaway. So the disappointment I felt when The Swan Thieves just didn't live up to my hopes was that much keener.The main character, Dr. Marlow is an amateur painter and a psychiatrist, who throughout the book shows little regard for the ethical standards of that profession. I can't say I disliked him, though, because he simply d [...]

    11. My goodness, this was engrossing. I heard Elizabeth Kostova read from the novel at Lemuria earlier this month, and I have been happily giving over my lunch breaks and evenings to it ever since. A long novel, but thoroughly engrossing––that's twice I've used this word. Fitting. There were moments in the narrative when I couldn't quite shake the sense of the author's being female, a problem when the protagonist is male. Then again, large passages of plot are narrated through letters written by [...]

    12. I really enjoyed The Swan Thieves and I'm glad I read it, but I don't really like books when they try to pull a bunch of mental illness stuff into the mix, for reasons I'd rather not discuss. I loved the author's prose though, really powerful and creative. :)

    13. I love reading about painting. This was fiction, though Berthe Morisot has existed, but it was for me still worth reading. I could smell the oil paint, see the strokes and the composition. These fictional painting became real for me. I also liked the different points of view, the layers in the book. But most of all, it brought me back to painting myself, a hobby I neglected for a while. And I love it!

    14. This was, in a word, disappointing. The attempted narrative structure just really didn't work for me. The story is told from the perspective of three different narrators, along with letters from the past interspersed throughout. I think the structure was problematic simply because the main character - Robert Oliver - was less than interesting. Each of the narrators was telling a story about Robert's life as it related to them, but I never really felt like I knew him. I knew the other characters, [...]

    15. This is an exquisitely written art history mystery with a difference: it is elegant. Crafted with poise and knowledge of the art period that is arguably the most eventful, The Swan Thieves enthralls on three levels, and is written from a range of perspectives that ring utterly true.The reader wishes for the book never to end, because the atmosphere is mesmerising and totally engaging. One never doubts the ability of the author, and trust is never a question: the mystery unfolds and the reader go [...]

    16. A story of obsession, art, (fictional) artists past and present, mental illness and longing for love. At least I think there's a story somewhere buried in the incredible avalanche of detail. At the end I went "what?!!!". Such a weak payoff for 18 hours of listening (500+ pages). 3 stars for the story, at times engaging and tender, but 1 star for the writing, averaging out to 2 stars. I should have trusted my gut about half-way through to abandon.

    17. I just headed over to amazon to pick up a picture for this review, and I was dreading the act of clicking on The Swan Thieves link, because I didn't want to see how many stars readers had given the book. You see, The Swan Thieves (like her previous book, The Historian) is one of those novels that is so gripping that I want to stand on street corners and press copies of it into the hands of passersby. It's 600 pages long. I started the book on Sunday morning and finished it this afternoon. I know [...]

    18. Elizabeth Kostova accomplishes something in The Swan Thieves that no one whose review I've read has mentioned: a true feeling of what it is to be an artist, both young and struggling or older and proficient.e helps those of us who are "wannabee' painters see thru the eyes of a real paintere importance of light, shadow, a flicker of color added, the emotion tendered in a few brush stokes.She also summons the living presence of the Impressionist movement with a vividness that reminds us why the al [...]

    19. First let me say that I have had this book on at the library since the fall of 2009 and just recieved and read it. I was so so so excited to dive into it.Secondly, I was and am still an absolute fan of the author's first novel THE HISTORIAN. i recommend to anyone and everyone.Thirdly!!! What a gynormous waste!!! I so so so wanted to Love this novel. At this point I would just wish I could like this novel. the art genre novel has now been passe for sometime. The author chose such an enthralling s [...]

    20. If readers pick up this book, hoping for a story similar to "The Historian," they will be disappointed. Personally, I am disappointed by the number of readers criticizing this book for such reasons. In "The Swan Thieves," Kostova steps away from 'another person's' story and builds a mesmerizing foundation of mystery and breath-taking narrative(s) for her readers. The story is a number of character developments amidst an intricate storyline, one filled with historical fact and fiction. A fourth o [...]

    21. An affinity, even a love affair with an author begins with the innocent intimation, that feeling that you have discovered something extraordinary. Like the painters in the novel here, it is an innate talent; something that can be quite ineffable. As the emerging painter may say when his/her motives are questioned, "I am simply into it."A specific work, painting may not be great, but one can see the talent that lies behind the flaws. And this is not something that can be taught. In this way, it i [...]

    22. This book was entertaining, and gorgeously written - maybe too gorgeously written. I felt some of the descriptions were so drawn out that they made me loose the thread of the narrative. I also felt that although it was supposed to be written in different voices, they aren't distinct enough to be truly compelling. And Kostova gave too much away at the beginning -the mystery surrounding the painting and Robert and Marlowe 's fates seemed so inevitable. Definitely a good read, but not a great one.

    23. This was a very good read - the audio production was wonderful - multiple narrators including Treat Williams, Anne Heche and John Lee, with musical interludes interspersed throughout. The ending was a bit abrupt, or anti-climatic perhaps? I do look forward to reading more of Kostova's work, especially The Historian and her newest coming out soon, The Shadow Land.

    24. When I started this book I was enjoying it. About half way through, for various reasons, I had to put the book down for almost a week. When I picked it back up I just could not get back into the story. I found I really didn't much care about the characters or what happened to them. And the plot, such as it is, also had me unmoved. Which pretty much sums up my review.

    25. В един студен майски ден се разхождах по улиците на Дрезден, след 4-5 часов интензивен сити тур, вече окончателно вкочанасяна реших да се скрия в Цвингера ( виж.снимка профил:)))) и да разгледам за няколко часа художествената галерия и ако остане време експозицията с рицарскит [...]

    26. This is a beautiful, flowy read. I get it that there is no action. That the storyline is rathet flat, its more towards uncovering of past mystery (that is why it's not a thriller). And yet, despite critics hating this book, I became enraptured with the storyline more and more as I go deeper. I am no arts major, a painter of any kind, but the little passion I have for paintings and its beauty makes me appreciate this novel. The ending delivers a sense of satisfying closure, an abrupt if I might s [...]

    27. Now, I have not read The Historian (I do plan on reading it) so this was my first exposure to Ms. Kostova's writing. At first glance, this book does not seem really exciting because it's about a painter who attacks a painting and the psychiatrist who tries to figure out what drove him to do it. Andrew Marlow, the psychiatrist, ends up having to go to the women in the painter's life in order to figure out the mystery because the painter refuses to speak.Kostova's writing is beautiful and descript [...]

    28. I have heard many mixed reviews about The Swan Thieves from my friends. It seems that my artist friends tend to like it better than my non-artist friends, which I imagine is due to the subject matter. The book is about a nationally-recognized artist named Robert Oliver who goes nuts in the National Gallery of Art and tries to attack a priceless painting with a knife. He is hospitalized for mental illness, and psychiatrist Andrew Marlow, an exceptional artist himself, takes on Robert's compelling [...]

    29. 3.5Robert é um pintor brilhante, todos admiram o seu trabalho a relembrar o período impressionista mesmo que por vezes as suas telas sejas cruas, fortes e difíceis de olhar de frente. É como todos os artistas: reservado, pouco social, preferindo a solidão para se dedicar inteiramente à arte. Um dia, inesperadamente, ataca um quadro na Galeria Nacional e é levado para uma instituição psiquiátrica, onde Andrew, psiquiatra, vai acompanhar o pintor, que se remete ao silêncio total desde q [...]

    30. I received "The Swan Thieves" through GoodReads' FirstReads program and was really excited to be the winner! I read "The Historian," thoroughly enjoyed that and had put "The Swan Thieves" on my to-read list as soon as I knew it was being published.I must say that I admire Kostova as a writer. It's evident this woman does her homework; she's a total academic for mainstream/general-fiction literature. She's a talented author, but she also fully immerses herself in a place and in a culture. In this [...]

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