The Swan Thieves (Unabridged Edition)
by Elizabeth Kostova,
Readers: Treat Williams, Anne Heche, Erin Cottrell, Sarah Zimmerman, John Lee
Audio CD, Published 2010 by Hachette Audio, Unabridged Edition
A huge thanks to Anna from Hachette Books for the opportunity to enjoy this book and a chance for giveaway. I was very excited to hear about this book. I have read THE HISTORIAN (twice), and it was perfect. Listening to THE SWAN THIEVES is very much like taking a nice and leisurely walk in the park on a beautiful day. There’s nothing jarring about it. It flows, and it’s pleasant. When something suspenseful comes along, you’re safe in the knowledge that after this rough patch, your walk will go on being pleasant and flowing.
It took me a long while to figure out what’s going in the book. I didn’t really read any of the description of the story in advance. I know I’m going to listen to it, why bother? I just let the narration go on and I’ll figure out the story as it goes along. The readers are excellent, but they sometimes become interchangeable, I can’t quite tell which is which. There’s a sub-plot from a 19th century artist and his girl, then there’s Robert Oliver and his breakdown in the present time. His psychiatrist digs deeper into Robert Oliver’s life (a la Dr. House) to find out more about this patient. I don’t know how many psychiatrist would put so much effort into the lives of their patients, but Dr. Marlowe put many hours into finding out about his patient.
At the end of it all, I got this feeling that I just took a pleasant journey across beautiful landscapes, but I have no idea what the point of that trek was. The book left me with a very pleasant feeling, but also a confused one, just like life itself.
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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 nineteenth 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.