Mixed review

I’m over half-way through The Swan Thieves and I understand the points of contention listed in the various reviews: all the first-person characters can sound alike, not all details can be vivid and some fall flat, overly formal prose at times.

I like one reviewer’s succinct description of Kostova’s use of traditional storytelling devices.

Hair is soft, hearts pound and each mise-en-scene is dutifully detailed.

And yet . . .

I keep turning the page. I want to hear more about the disturbed artist and his psychiatrist who insists of breaking confidentiality and pursuing the past as his obsession grows.

What is it that allows a reader to forgive the author for obvious shortcomings? Are there enough pages that missteps disappear, hiding behind the growing stack of read pages?

Part of me wants to be frustrated by Kostova’s lack of original tone for each narrating character – 50-something male psychiatrist and two 30-something women – and how they all talk about art the same way and about Robert Oliver (the deranged artist) the same way.

When The Swan Thieves is closed and looming from my night stand, I see the faults. But when that spine cracks open all that goes away. She must be doing something right.


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