Cover of The Swan Thieves: A Novel
The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Honestly, I was EXTREMELY disappointed. Elizabeth’s first book, The Historian was one of my favorite books I’ve ever read. Thus, I was elated to read this one. I chose it for my book club (http://www.bountifulbookclub.blogspot.com/), thinking I couldn’t go wrong with a book by Elizabeth. It was my first time choosing a book for this club and I wanted to make a good impression. However, I’m mostly mortified. 😐 The Historian took me on this crazy wild ride, that has stuck with me and lines and scenes from it randomly pop in my head. Alas, The Swan Thieves, just goes on and on. I felt like she took the entire book to tell the ‘back story‘ and I just kept waiting for the plot to start. The last 15% of the book was the most interesting and what could and would have been the most exciting part if she would have elaborated upon it just a fraction of what she spent on the first 85% of the book. Elizabeth of course kept her characters consistent and did amazing amounts of research. In addition it was very interesting to learn more of what it’s like to be an artist and a bit of a psychiatrist. Her writing style is beautiful. Still this book was very long winded and mostly I just couldn’t wait to finish it and be done. Also with the last 15% it felt as if she realized she was behind on her time schedule to finish the book and rushed to a conclusion that left MUCH to be desired. I kept hoping that the resolution would at least justify the long back story, lack of a climax, etc. It didn’t. 😐 I did find myself getting anxious and questioning more about the paintings that had been talked about and described. I found myself going online and researching the paintings, painters, etc. Printing them out and placing them myself inside the book for future references. It would have been a nice appendix type addition to the printing to have included a few of them… Because it just left you wanting to see them… a picture after all is worth 1,000 words. I will of course continue to give Ms. Kostova a chance again with future writings, and pray that they are more similar in style to the Historian.
Oh one other thing it taught me was to make sure I never end up with an artist of that magnitude for a spouse. lol I did like a few lines and things that it taught as well. My favorite was when Marlow was speaking with his Father, who said paraphrasing, “Marlow, you just need to find someone who completes your thoughts and sentences, and when you do, you simply look them in the eye and say, “My Dear, it appears to me that your heart has been broken. Will you allow me to heal it for you?”
Another favorite passage was, “People whose marriages haven’t collapsed, or whose spouses die instead of leaving, don’t know that marriages that end seldom have a single ending. Marriages are like certain books, a story where you turn the the last page and you think it’s over, and then there’s an epilogue, and after that your’e inclined to go on wondering about the characters or imagining that their lives continue without you, dear reader. Until you forget most of that book, you’re stuck puzzling over what happened to them after you closed it.”
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