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The Swan Thieves  By  cover art

The Swan Thieves

By: Elizabeth Kostova
Narrated by: Treat Williams,Anne Heche,Erin Cottrell,Sarah Zimmerman,John Lee
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Publisher's Summary

Psychiatrist Andrew Marlowe has a perfectly ordered life--solitary, perhaps, but full of devotion to his profession and the painting hobby he loves. This order is destroyed when renowned painter Robert Oliver attacks a canvas in the National Gallery of Art and becomes his patient. In response, Marlowe finds himself going beyond his own legal and ethical boundaries to understand the secret that torments this genius, a journey that will lead him into the lives of the women closest to Robert Oliver and toward a tragedy at the heart of French Impressionism.

Ranging from American museums to the coast of Normandy, from the late 19th century to the late twentieth, from young love to last love, The Swan Thieves is a story of obsession, the losses of history, and the power of art to preserve human hope.

©2010 Elizabeth Kostova (P)2010 Hachette

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What listeners say about The Swan Thieves

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Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Such Potential Wasted

I really had high expectations and was ecstatic when I heard that Kostova had written a new book. I had enjoyed "The Historian" very much. It was something I devoured in the print version. While listening to "The Swan Thieves" I found myself wondering if the difference I was experiencing was due to the audio versus print experience. As this story progressed I became more and more disenchanted and realized that it wasn't completely the narration. I really tried to connect with this odd story of obsession, art, and history. It just never happened. I found myself thinking "what??" as each new twist occurred. In the end, on finishing the book, I sighed with disappointment and chalked it up to rushed writing and poor story development. So much potential and so little follow through.

37 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

uuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhh............

I have listened to a great many audiobooks by various authors, including this one. While "The Historian" was interresting, this book was not at all. The main character is mundanely obsesessed with a boring artist, who has an even more boring obsession with an historical figure who's significance is scant. The author uses too many descriptives to detail minute by minute what the reader surmises in the first few encounters with each character. There is no exciting revelation at the end to make up for her wordy drudgery. It's one of the few books that I found a complete waste and I'm sorry to have purchased it. I try to find some redeeming aspect in every book, but this one was almost impossible to finish listening to. Listener beware.

24 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Why, oh why, didn't I trust the reviews?

Good grief. Many, many words about not much. I stuck with this until I thought my ears were going to bleed. I may try it again later but I don't know if it was the reader or the story that turned into a gentle roar in my head. Either way, I give.

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Dull...like listening to paint dry.

I had high hopes for this book but it was an all around dud for me. The story began in an interesting way but soon became repetitive and tedious. The female characters point of view was told in way too much detail, and in the end as I suspected there was no earthly reason to have listened to these girls drone on and on for hours about the minutia of their lives with the painter.
I also figured out the "surprise" ending about 8 hrs in. Not very subtle plotting.
The narrators of this book did not help alleviate the boredom at all, I do like the sound of Treat Williams voice but this was more of a read aloud effort rather than a performance.
Very disappointing and not in my opinion, credit worthy.

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Less Than One Star

I really enjoyed "The Historian", so I was looking forward to this, but it was perhaps the most boring thing I've ever listened to. She goes into ridiculous levels of detail about things that have no bearing on the story. I started to give up after the first of three parts, but didn't. I should have. Also, this is the first book I've listened to narrated by Treat Williams. I guess he's an OK actor, but I don't think he's much of an audiobook narrator.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful

In every aspect, this is one that rarely comes along and when it does I'd like to talk about it with everybody.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

No Dracula!

I loved The Historian. Read it twice. Listened once (it is abriged, booo!). In this book I really miss Dracula. The characters are so timid it makes me grind my teeths. They meet in scenes where near to nothing happens and they all keep track of what food they were eating, the color and texture of what clothes they were wearing and what the other perons wore, in those scenes where nothing happened. They are all so educated (to be polite) that they would never call a painting a painting but always a "canvas". Now if only the Prince of Darkness would pop up among them to spice things up - to bring some tension to the story and some urgency to the characters. But - no such luck.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

rather dull but pleasant at times

I found it curious that the stories of Robert's women was told in such excruciating detail and Robert's "recovery" was handled rather ham-fisted. Why both the wife and, especially, the lover felt the need to tell the psychiatrist about mind numbing details of the beginning of their relationship with patient was and still is beyond my ability to understand and appreciate. The relationship between the psychiatrist and the patient's ex-lover was not developed well in the least. None of the characters elicited warmth, empathy or sympathy.

But, I am an older reader who had more patience with this rather poorly portioned and paced book, more so when the history of the painting was brought into the story.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

God Robert Oliver your such a Dick

The Swan thieves was a lovely listen and It held a grand mystery that grips your attention. It truly made you want to follow the story to the end. Its use of different viewpoints and time-periods was fantastic.

That being said, the characters themselves all felt rather selfish and some downright unlikable. Plus after listening to this book for hours and hours and expecting some reward for sitting patiently through hours of well-written if useless exposition the ending was just......blah. There was no end really it just kinda of ...trailed off and decided it was done. I felt cheated.

The book is beautiful but the end falls flat. I still recommend it to anyone who loves a well written book (but be prepared to listen to alot of people talking about painting)

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

The Swan Thieves (unabridged)

Beautifully written and of course you can not go wrong with the narrators as they use their expert skills to bring this very well thought out book to life…worth the listen…

7 people found this helpful