The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova
The novel opens with renowned artist Robert Oliver attacking a painting at the National Gallery in Washington D.C. and being admitted to a psychiatric hospital. His psychiatrist, Andrew Marlowe, also a painter, is determined to help Oliver but his patient won’t speak. He hasn’t said a word since the day he arrived, only saying that Marlowe can speak to anyone he wants to about him. Since then, not a word. Needless to say, it’s hard to talk out unresolved issues and problems with someone who won’t speak. That’s when Marlowe decides to talk to the people in Oliver’s life and attempt to understand what would make an artist attempt to stab a beautiful work of art.
This is a leisurely paced novel that unfolds slowly and realistically. We follow the thoughts of Marlowe as he tries to puzzle out the mind of Oliver through the memories of the two women in his life and the 18th century letters he obsessively re-reads every day. This is a thought-provoking read that details the artistic process and a little known glimpse into French Impressionism.
The Popular Fiction Book Discussion Group will be meeting at Borders of Bridgewater on Tuesday, November 16th at 7:00pm to discuss The Swan Thieves.