Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Swan Thieves

The Swan Thieves, by Elizabeth Kostova.

Marriages are like certain books, a story where you turn the last page and you think it's over, and then there's an epilogue, and after that you're 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.

Elizabeth Kostova is a graduate of the MFA program at Michigan, so I had definitely heard of her before reading this book; in addition, her first novel, The Historian, got very good reviews. I haven't read The Historian but I decided to read this novel, her second. She weaves together 3 or 4 different stories into one cohesive dialogue, and it is interesting to see how the stories all combine and are related to one another. Dr. Andrew Marlow's patient Robert Oliver is a renowned painter, but he tries to attack a painting at a museum, and is then put in psychiatric care. Dr. Oliver wants to find out what is wrong with Robert, and why Robert won't talk any more, and to do this he must delve into his past - he visits his ex-wife, Kate, and his once-lover, Mary, and in doing so becomes entangled with Mary himself. His search takes him around the globe, to Paris, Acapulco, and other places, and soon the search becomes more of an obsession than something that is necessary.

The novel was a little confusing at parts, otherwise I would give it a higher rating.
3.5 stars out of 5.


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