Swan Thieves

by Elizabeth Kostova | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 1847442412 Global Overview for this book
Registered by LaPitchoune of Helsinki, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on 12/19/2011
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6 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by LaPitchoune from Helsinki, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on Monday, December 19, 2011
A thick paperback with an artsy subject matter. The novel is partly an epistolary view to 19th century France, partly a plunge into the mindsets of modern-day artists and their muses.

Could it be that an artist's soul always follows the same universal pattern, vowen together by the love and pain of creation, which moves through time from one century to the next? What happens when a painter can't let go of his/her subject matter? What is excessive in art, if anything?

I found the subject matter personally appealing, which made me read the 561 pages at a fast pace, but in reality the novel lacked substance, which could put some readers off.

The Swan Thieves a story of a psychiatrist treating an artist who refuses to clarify what's troubling or haunting him deep inside. Something made him attack a painting in a gallery, but what? And why this painting, in particular? As the story usually goes in this genre, the psychiatrist dives in deep to reach the core of the problem. Two important key figures from the painter's past arise - they seem to work as muses for the psychiatrist while he proceeds in his work. And there is a third character, whose life and entourage is present in the form of old letters. I will reveal no more, and leave the pleasure of reading to the next candidate.

Journal Entry 2 by LaPitchoune at Helsinki, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on Friday, December 23, 2011
I decided to let this book go out into the wild as a bookray.

Here are the bookcrossers who have signed up so far:

santala (Finland)
marijketje (the Netherlands, ships within the EU)
penelopewanders (Switzerland, ships within the EU)
sedna5213 (Germany, ships int'lly)
Izzy5000 (American shipping)
Ravencat (American shipping)

Journal Entry 3 by LaPitchoune at Helsinki, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on Tuesday, March 06, 2012
Bon voyage! The book set out to find its first (second) reader in the ray. Take your time and enjoy!

Journal Entry 4 by LaPitchoune at Helsinki, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on Friday, May 18, 2012
It seems like the book disappeared in the mail :( I personally dropped this off at the local post office and made sure the postage was sufficient. I guess this one is lost forever, then! No bookray after all! :(

Journal Entry 5 by santala at Petäjävesi, Keski-Suomi / Mellersta Finland Finland on Monday, May 28, 2012
Oh dear, I didn't realize I hadn't journaled receiving this book! I was so thrilled to get it in my hands that I just started reading it right away...

It is a long book! Really. And totally different from The Historian, Kostova's debut novel which I just loved. But I liked this one too, very much. I will definitely read this again when it will be available in Finnish. (And give it to some friend to read, too.)

The story is actually quite simple, but intriguing. I just wished I knew more about art and painting to be fully able to enjoy every page of this book!

Thank you LaPitchoune for the bookray!

Journal Entry 6 by santala at Petäjävesi, Keski-Suomi / Mellersta Finland Finland on Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Released 6 yrs ago (6/14/2012 UTC) at Petäjävesi, Keski-Suomi / Mellersta Finland Finland


Since I got no answer from marijketje, I will send this now to penelopewanders, Switzerland.


Journal Entry 7 by wingpenelopewanderswing at Hasliberg, Bern / Berne Switzerland on Wednesday, June 27, 2012
This arrived here in the Alps during the final week of our school year, so as I'm busy with report writing etc it may be a few days before I can get to it. I enjoyed the Historian, so look forward to reading another by this author. Thanks so much for making it available and for sending.

Journal Entry 8 by wingpenelopewanderswing at Hasliberg, Bern / Berne Switzerland on Saturday, July 07, 2012
This is actually part contemporary, part historical, as there are flashbacks to the late 1800s. I have to say that on the whole I enjoyed this book, although at a very quick glance at the Goodreads reviews I see there are many who did not.
For one thing, I do know a fair bit about the Impressionists, and having lived in France for almost 30 years I had the happy occasion to visit many of the places mentioned and see a multitude of exhibits of the various artists mentioned. Therefore it was a pleasure to be able to imagine the scenes and paintings which I felt were well-described.
The actual relationship between Marlow and Robert Oliver was a bit curious and I felt the story led one to expect some more dramatic denouement -I half expected to discover Robert Oliver was Beatrice's son or grandson or something. I think this would have helped to explain his seemingly random obsession.
Likewise I felt there would be more to the story with Kate, but at the end she was no longer relevant. Marlow's own fascination with Robert's women was a bit unsettling.
A sort of side note - I tend to be a very fast reader - usually a book like this would last me at most a day or two. I remember the same thing happened with the Historian - it seemed to take me quite a while to read. Likewise, granted this has been a busy time, but it's quite surprising it took me over a week to get through this. Nonetheless I enjoyed it, and most especially the parts with Béatrice. I have PMed for the next address and hope to receive it before I leave on holiday towards the middle of next week!

Journal Entry 9 by wingpenelopewanderswing at Hasliberg, Bern / Berne Switzerland on Monday, July 09, 2012

Released 6 yrs ago (7/9/2012 UTC) at Hasliberg, Bern / Berne Switzerland


This is now heading not to Germany but to France as that is the address I was given for the next in line. Enjoy!
Thanks so much for making this book available.

Journal Entry 10 by wingsedna5213wing at Wasquehal, Nord-Pas-de-Calais France on Friday, July 20, 2012
The book arrived safe & sound! Looking forward to reading it!
Thanks to LaPitchoune foe sharing and penelopewanders for sending it!

I didn't enjoy this book as much as The Historian, maybe because I'm not too much into arts. The main character sounded too "politically correct" to be true and the whole reason behing the obsession of Robert didn't become clear to me.

Journal Entry 11 by wingsedna5213wing at Charlottenburg, Berlin Germany on Friday, September 07, 2012

Released 6 yrs ago (9/6/2012 UTC) at Charlottenburg, Berlin Germany


The book is travelling to America.

Journal Entry 12 by ravencat at Lancaster, New York USA on Monday, September 17, 2012
Arrived today with beautiful card of Calais! I have one book ahead of this one so it will take me awhile but I will update status.

Journal Entry 13 by ravencat at Hendersonville, Tennessee USA on Monday, October 22, 2012
It took me awhile to get through this one as at times it bored me and had to put the book down for a few days. I do appreciate learning new things and the art history of the Impressionists was somewhat interesting but this story just seemed to drag on with the climax of it being at the very end of the book. I was also somewhat disappointed with the reason Robert Oliver did what he did to the painting at the National Gallery of Art and I agree with penelopewanders that I was hoping to find Robert was related to Beatrice in some way to understand his obsessions. I must admit I enjoyed The Historian more and at the same time glad that I read The Swan Thieves. Thank-you LaPitchoune for this bookray.

Journal Entry 14 by ravencat at Hendersonville, Tennessee USA on Monday, October 22, 2012

Released 6 yrs ago (10/22/2012 UTC) at Hendersonville, Tennessee USA


Sent off as a RABCK (on wishlist) to wildflower37.

Journal Entry 15 by wildflower37 at Montclair, New Jersey USA on Friday, November 02, 2012
Thank you, Ravencat, for sending to me. What a wonderful surprise! Our state (NJ, uSA) was badly hit by Hurricane Sandy earlier this week and I am very lucky to only be living without power. I know friends who lost homes and relatives, so for me it is just a cold, dark incovenvience. What a lovely gift to arrive in the midst of this challenging time. I so appreciate my BC connections to remind me of the good kind of "random," not just the disaster kind...I won't get to read this for a while but am so grateful that you thought of me.

Journal Entry 16 by wildflower37 at Montclair, New Jersey USA on Wednesday, July 29, 2015
I started to read this but haven't been able to fully engage. Decided it's time for it to have another journey! Putting in VBB.

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