Psychiatrist Andrew Marlowe, devoted to his profession and the painting hobby he loves, has a solitary but ordered life. When renowned painter Robert Oliver attacks a canvas in the National Gallery of Art and becomes his patient, Marlow finds that order destroyed. Desperate to understand the secret that torments the genius, he embarks on a journey that leads him into the lives of the women closest to Oliver and a tragedy at the heart of French Impressionism.
Kostova’s masterful new novel travels from American cities to the coast of Normandy, from the late 19th century to the late 20th, from young love to last love. THE SWAN THIEVES is a story of obsession, history’s losses, and the power of art to preserve human hope.
The Swan Thieves is a 17 CD set audio. Beautifully titled, elegantly covered, I was drawn to the sound and the look of this audio much as an artist is drawn to an art gallery.
The story of Robert Oliver, a man not handsome, but has a presence, a way that he carries himself that reeks of self-assurance and that is a powerful tool of attraction as you will find out within this work of words. As I began to listen, I was quickly brought into the heart of the story, this man, Robert, known for his talents and his teachings has done the unthinkable. Robert in a rage, has attacked a painting. A painting? And now, it is up to psychiatric doctor, Andrew Marlow, to attempt to see beyond the surface of anger and get to the canvas of the man who was, and is, Robert.
The reading of this audio is top-notch. The gentle almost rhythmic voice of Treat Williams is fitting for the role of a patient person such as Dr. Marlow. Anne Heche, who us the voice of Robert’s ex-wife Kate, is perfectly cautious yet strong, and Erin Cottrell who is Mary, Roberts one time lover and mistress, is the voice of young, prideful, and the self assured student to the great teacher.
There are other voices as well, Sarah Zimmerman and John Rafter Lee, who are the voices from the letters of the past… spoken in engaging strong accents that add to the timelessness of their story they tell through the writings. I found myself engaged in their story as it seemed unbeknown to the present day characters that history truly was repeating itself in small ways within Dr. Marlow and Mary.
Honestly, as engaging as this reading was, I am not sure if I had read the book if I would have made it all the way through. While extremely detailed, the audio is long and drawn out. Towards the end I have to admit I started to skim the last few CDs chapters of the accented voices and cling to the story of Marlow, Mary, and Robert. I think the book would have buried me in all of the words, and while I truly enjoyed the story, I think it could have been just as wonderful if not even more so if some of the great details had been taken out.
I have not read Elizabeth Kostova’s Historian. I would like too. However, I do hear that it is also long and that may require me to search out this book as well in audio format.
I received my audio for review from Hachette Book Group