The Swan Thieves

The Swan Thieves

It was one of the best decisions I made.  This book kept me glued from beginning to end.  It took me a while to read; this is one of those books that you have to savor slowly, and I have to admit, the epistolary style that is weaved in with the first person narrative is so seldom used in modern fiction that some may find it bothersome.

Regardless, for those that like character driven books and a bit of a brain teaser, this is the book for you.  There is Dr. Marlow, a middle aged psychiatrist with a rather sedate life style and a love for painting and fine art; into his life comes Robert Oliver, a talented painter that is sort of at the end of his rope.  Their lives collide when Robert Oliver tries to attack a painting depicting Leda and the Swan in the National Gallery.  From the on we are taken into a journey where we explore through Marlow’s eyes the motivations that lead a mentally unstable patient to obsession.  There is one problem for good Dr. Marlow, the patient is not talking and does absolutely nothing to help himself.  Marlow has to resort to learn about Robert’s life through his family and coworkers.  There, the reader is introduced to the other victims of mental illness, the families and loved ones of the ones affected by it.  Marlow is dismayed as he sees his patient’s life and relationships start to unravel as the time goes by.  Meanwhile, his quiet life gets sucked into a vortex of new experiences and emotions while he goes deeper and deeper into Oliver’s obsession

So, if you are interested in art, impressionism, psychiatry and a good mystery, give this book a try.  It is a great surprise for those unfamiliar with Kostova’s writer — as I was.  It took me about two or three nights to read it, but I consider those sleepless nights well spent.

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Economics Student by day, classical singer by night. My hobbies are: painting, drawing, gardening, embroidery, photography, and learning how to play the piano.