by Elizabeth Kostova
I am so far behind with my book reviews. Hopefully, getting this one posted will get me past the barrier. I received this book from Hatchette and I was delighted to have the chance to reading Kostova's 2nd book. I thoroughly enjoyed The Historian a few years ago when I read it shortly after reading Dracula.
The Swan Thieves is not at all like The Historian except that both are long and circuitous. I have often heard people talk of character studies without fully comprehending the term. I think I understand it now. The Swan Thieves concentrates significantly on the characters, painting each character with layer after layer of description.
The story can be summed up briefly: An artist is caught with a knife attempting to stab a famous painting and is incarcerated in a mental hospital. The psychiatrist caring for him becomes obsessed with him and searches for answers to the artist breakdown. This search leads to interviews with the 3 women in the painter's life and a story told through letters the painter obsessively reads.
I liked The Swan Thieves but not as much as The Historian. I wanted to learn why the artist would stab a beautiful piece of artwork and that small mystery kept me reading. I was intrigued with the story told in the letters and thought it the most enjoyable part of the book.
I'm not strongly recommending this book. I think there are many who will like it and even a few who will love it. It doesn't make my list of memorable books or my rereads list. A quick look at amazon. com shows a higher rating for The Swan Thieves than for The Historian. That surprises me. And the ratings may change as more people read it as currently there are only 5 posted reviews - none are mine.