Elizabeth Kostova made a dramatic debut in with her megabestselling The Historian. The first debut novel to hit the New York Times bestseller list at 1, The Historian has been published in 44 languages, has more than 1. The Swan Thieves revisits certain themes and strategies of The Historian , chief among them an academic hero who is drawn into a quest for knowledge about the central mystery, only to develop an obsession that becomes the driving force of the plot. Each chapter marks a point of view shift from the previous one, with the narrative shared among a variety of characters telling the story in a variety of ways.
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The Swan Thieves, her follow-up, will also leave its readers laughing, but for all the wrong reasons. Robert Oliver is a painter on the cusp of fame. He has it all: a beautiful and devoted wife, two lovely children, a job that leaves him time to paint. But one day he is found in the National Gallery in Washington, attempting to damage a painting of Leda and the Swan.
Refusing to explain, he is sectioned, and put under the care of psychiatrist and part-time painter Andrew Marlowe. A bundle of 19th-century letters in French is found in his possession, which Kostova drip-feeds to us before, rather bumpily, beginning their back-story: that of a French Impressionist painter who is caught between her husband and another love and the ultimate secret of her work. This constant return to the beginning palls. The denouement is signalled a quarter of the way through, but, despite the characters constantly telling each other how clever they are, they have hundreds of pages to plod through before they reach the same conclusion, which makes them seem curiously thick.
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The Swan Thieves
The subject who is truly loyal to the Chief Magistrate will neither advise nor submit to arbitrary measures. This article was published more than 10 years ago. Some information in it may no longer be current. The U.
The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova
How do you follow the fastest-selling debut novel in US history? That was the task facing Elizabeth Kostova, whose novel The Historian sparked a bidding war between publishing houses convinced that they had found a book to bridge the gap between the literary reading group and the Dan Brown-buying public. Translated into 28 languages, The Historian — a clever, if not quite as clever as it thought it was retelling of the Dracula myth — had just enough spookiness and study to cast a spell on its readers, many of whom didn't notice that the writing was often as wooden as a stake through the heart. Which brings us to The Swan Thieves, another literary ish thriller of sorts which replaces the Eastern Europe of the Vlad myth with 19th-century Paris and the birth of Impressionism.
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The "old painter" described in the book before the first chapter is Alfred Sisley. Entertainment Weekly gave the book a "C" grade. All are painters, and they're not much different, in interest or in outlook, from one another. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.