"You must have a place to which you can go in your heart, your mind, or your house, almost everyday, where you do not owe anyone and where no one owes you--a place that simply allows for the blossoming of something new and promising."
- Joseph Campbell
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
The Swan Thieves / Review
Author: Elizabeth Kostova
Hardcover: 576 pages Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (January 12, 2010) Language: English ISBN-10: 0316065781
Robert Oliver, a troubled, yet distinguished painter, has attacked a painting at the National Gallery of Art--an action which has landed him in a mental institution under the care of psychiatrist, Andrew Marlowe. Marlowe, who is an art enthusiast and painter himself, becomes deeply fascinated with his patient and the history behind Robert Oliver's strange behavior. As he attempts to heal his patient, the doctor is met with obstinence and silence; Oliver will tell him nothing. Determined to find answers, Marlowe not only becomes involved in his patient's past life and relationships, but also with the life of forbidden lovers, Beatrice de Cleval, and her mentor, artist Olivier Vignot, from the 19th century. Who is Robert Oliver and what is his connection to the painting? This book kept me guessing.
Kostova brings, once again, something wonderful to the written page--something that will enthrall readers from start to finish. It is superbly written, multi-layered, containing all the elements of a great story: desire, passion, obsession, forbidden love, mystery, historical romance, and the determination of the human spirit. It is an extraordinary book that I believe, not only mystery lovers will like, but artists or lovers of art will enjoy, as well. I found it to be an elegant, tender, highly psychological read, with lots of talk about the world of art.
(Thank you to Hachette Book Group for my review copy.)