The Swan Thieves is the second novel by Elizabeth Kostova, author of The Historian. The Historian, which was often called “The Da Vinci Code for Dracula people”, was a lot of fun, so when The Swan Thieves popped up at the Library’s Used Book Store, I snatched it right up.
I wasn’t expecting Dickens here, but I was still disappointed.
The premise was great. A psychiatrist takes on the case of a mad artist that tried to slash a painting in the National Gallery. Art and crazy people. Awesome.
The artist won’t talk, so the doctor starts to play detective. Interviews the ex-wife. And the ex-lover. And some colleagues. Reads some letters views some paintings. Kostova is very careful to dance around the fact that the doctor doesn’t do anything illegal in his research. The artist authorized him to talk with his family. And the ex-lover. And read the letters. I started to feel icky. And that was before he started sleeping with the ex-lover.
I seem to be reading a lot of these novels that go back and forth in time and solve the mystery. This, like many, is much less interesting in “the present” than in the flashbacks. And the story really dragged in the middle. The ending was satisfying, but not surprising.
Moving on now.