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Publisher's Summary

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
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By Sara on 08-13-14

Such Potential Wasted

I really had high expectations and was ecstatic when I heard that Kostova had written a new book. I had enjoyed "The Historian" very much. It was something I devoured in the print version. While listening to "The Swan Thieves" I found myself wondering if the difference I was experiencing was due to the audio versus print experience. As this story progressed I became more and more disenchanted and realized that it wasn't completely the narration. I really tried to connect with this odd story of obsession, art, and history. It just never happened. I found myself thinking "what??" as each new twist occurred. In the end, on finishing the book, I sighed with disappointment and chalked it up to rushed writing and poor story development. So much potential and so little follow through.

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32 of 34 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By amy on 01-28-10

Kinda Embarrassing

I am a professional artist and teacher, and I am used to reading the depiction of artists "with a grain of salt". Not that we are that elusive, but every good artist can spot when their trade/craft is being portrayed instead of lived. I found the contemporary characters, especially the artists, in the book terribly banal and tiring. If I were actually reading the book instead of listening to it, I wouldn't have made it past chapter 5. As it was, I yawned through it, as I have a very long commute. I was also disappointed with her male characters. They were one-dimensional, monochromatic and without edges. The only breaks in the monotony are the flashbacks- but they are very rare.

I read The Historian, in "real" form (book), it kept me up late into the night- I was riveted. Sadly, this book is pale in comparison to the last.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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