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By Elizabeth Kostova

Psychiatrist Andrew Marlow, dedicated to his career and the portray pastime he loves, has a solitary yet ordered lifestyles. while popular painter Robert Oliver assaults a canvas within the nationwide Gallery of artwork and turns into his sufferer, Marlow reveals that order destroyed. eager to comprehend the key that torments the genius, he embarks on a trip that leads him into the lives of the ladies closest to Oliver and a tragedy on the center of French Impressionism.

Kostova's masterful new novel travels from American towns to the coast of Normandy, from the overdue nineteenth century to the past due twentieth, from younger like to final love. THE SWAN THIEVES is a narrative of obsession, history's losses, and the facility of paintings to maintain human wish.

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Maybe Robert someway wanted he was once this woman—perhaps this was once a portrait of himself because the girl he desired to be. What did i do know approximately my husband, particularly? yet Robert used to be and had continually been so highly male that I couldn’t think this speculation for greater than a moment. I didn’t understand which alarmed me more—the unrelenting paintings that crammed approximately each sq. inch of all that area last in on me, or the truth that he had by no means talked with me voluntarily in regards to the lady who ruled his days. I obtained up and made a rapid seek of the room, my fingers trembling as I shook out the blankets at the couch the place Robert it appears now not slept a lot. What did I anticipate finding there? there has been no different lady dozing with him, a minimum of no longer in my apartment. No love letter fell out—nothing yet Robert’s watch, which he’d been trying to find. I rummaged in the course of the pile at the desk, the papers—sketches, a few of them, for the images and borders round me. I did stumble upon his keys at the ring with the brass cash I’d given him many years prior to. I positioned them in my denims pocket. via the couch have been a number of stacks of library books, slipping into an avalanche, regularly huge paintings books. He was once continuously bringing books and images into the home, so this, not less than, was once no shock. yet there have been such a lot of of them now, and just about all of them chronicled French Impressionism, whatever I hadn’t identified him to discover this compelling, except his preoccupation with Degas once we have been residing in ny. there have been books at the movement’s nice artists and their predecessors—Manet, Boudin, Courbet, Corot. a few were borrowed from far-off universities. there have been additionally books concerning the historical past of Paris, books concerning the coast of Normandy, books approximately Monet’s gardens at Giverny, approximately nineteenth-century women’s garments, in regards to the Paris Commune, concerning the emperor Louis-Napoléon, the reshaping of Paris by way of Baron Haussmann, the Paris Opera, French châteaus and looking, girls’ lovers and bouquets within the background of portray. Why had Robert by no means mentioned those pursuits with me? whilst had most of these books crept into our condominium? Had he learn them all just to beautify an attic? Robert used to be no historian—as a ways as I knew, he learn artwork catalogs and the occasional crime novel. I sat preserving a biography of Mary Cassatt. This needs to all be for his exhibit, one way or the other, a few suggestion, a few venture he had ignored to inform me approximately. Had I been busy with the newborn and overlooked to invite? Or was once this undertaking so entwined along with his emotions in regards to the version he had by no means pointed out that he couldn’t convey himself to speak with me approximately it? I appeared round the attic back, on the tidal wave of pictures, splintered items of a reflect held as much as one impressive lady. He had dressed her meticulously within the models from those books—shoe, glove, ruffled white undergarments. yet to him she used to be basically a true individual, a residing a part of his lifestyles. I heard Ingrid’s wail and discovered that very few mins had elapsed in view that I’d fixed the steps to the attic, the short passage of a nightmare.

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