The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova

The Swan Thieves

Elizabeth Kostova

A compelling intermingling of the story of a modern American painter, who badly needs psychiatric help, with a tragic crime in nineteenth century France. Be prepared to spend time on this big book with its myriad themes and voices. Will appeal to all those who love to read novels about art or grand love affairs.


He tapped his ash into the borrowed ashtray. 'The truth is that I don't know who she is. He blinked rapidly, 'Oh God,' he said, his voice full of despair. 'If I just knew who she was!'
This was so surprising, so unanswerable, so chilling and weird, that I said nothing for a few moments: I almost pretended he hadn't uttered that last line. I simply couldn't figure it out, didn't know how to respond. How could he paint someone and not know who she was?

  • The Other Side of You by Salley Vickers
  • Possession by A S Byatt
  • The Portrait by Iain Pears

Books with similar mood

Of Bees and Mist

Erick Setiawan

My Name is Red

Orhan Pamuk

The Old Drift

Namwali Serpell

An Orchestra of Minorities

Chigozie Obioma

In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman

Traveller of the Century

Andres Neuman

A Time to Every Purpose Under Heaven

Karl O Knausgaard

The Field of Blood

Denise Mina

The Seducer

Jan Kjaerstad

Soul Mountain

Gao Xingjian

The Blind Assassin

Margaret Atwood

A Clash of Kings

George R R Martin

The Colour of Bee Larkham's Murder

Sarah Harris

The Fractured Life of Jimmy Dice

Ronan Ryan


Naomi Novik

A Book of Strange New Things

Michel Faber

The Orchardist

Amanda Coplin

Tiger Hills

Sarita Mandanna

Plain Truth

Jodi Picoult


Christie Dickason

The New Wilderness

Diane Cook

The Woman at 1,000 Degrees

Hallgrímur Helgason

Burnt Shadows

Kamila Shamsie

The Spanish Bow

Andromeda Romano-Lax

Tango for a Torturer

Daniel Chavarria

City of the Beasts

Isabel Allende

Bold as Love

Gwyneth Jones

Empire of Sand

Tasha Suri

All the Birds in the Sky

Charlie Jane Anders


Ahmet Altan

The Execution of Noa P. Singleton

Elizabeth L Silver

The Gift of Rain

Tan Twan Eng

The Great Stink

Clare Clark

The Historian

Elizabeth Kostova

The Dollmaker

Nina Allan

The Axeman's Jazz

Ray Celestin

The House of Rumour

Jake Arnott

The Alchemy of Desire

Tarun Tejpal

Pandora's Star

Peter F Hamilton


Alexandra Lapierre

Santa Evita

Tomas Elroy Martinez


Suhayl Saadi

Brixton Beach

Roma Tearne

Once Upon a River

Diane Setterfield

City of Lies

Sam Hawke

The Invisible Guardian

Dolores Redondo

Waking Lions

Ayelet Gunder-Goshen

The Golem and the Djinni

Helene Wecker

The Silversmith's Wife

Sophia Tobin