Author's love of art weaves intriguing mystery --
By Jane Ammeson --
January 30, 2010 --
Author Elizabeth Kostova is an expert at interweaving the past and the present, creating a Gothic-like atmosphere that compels the reader to keep turning the pages. Kostova, author of "The Historian," a New York Times bestseller with a unique take on the vampire legends of Eastern Europe, is now back with "The Swan Thieves" (Little, Brown and Company 2010, $26.99).
Psychiatrist Andrew Marlow likes to paint in his spare time and so when he is asked to become the therapist for Robert Oliver, an artist arrested for trying to slash a painting at the National Gallery of Art, Marlow is intrigued. But Oliver will barely talk to him except to give him a packet of letters dating back to the 1800s and written in French. They are the correspondence between two French impressionist painters and between the letters and Oliver's compulsive painting of a beautiful dark haired woman, Marlow becomes obsessed enough to start on a journey to determine what is haunting Oliver.
"I have loved paintings for a long time as a spectator not as an artist," says Kostova , a Yale graduate who then earned a master's of fine arts from the University of Michigan, in explaining one of the reasons why she chose to have art become the center of the mystery in her novel.
As in "The Historian," the central figure travels from place to place while unraveling the mystery.
"I was writing about places I'd been in the past for ‘The Historian' because I was too poor and too busy to travel," says Kostova, who reads French and speaks Bulgarian. "This time I deliberately went to places that I wanted to write about."
Part of her travels was based upon gathering more information for her novel.
"I have the desire to learn something well," she says noting that she talked to psychiatrists as well as art historians and also used the courses she's taken in art history in helping her write her book.
"After reading my book, I hope readers will share the pleasure of looking at paintings again," says Kostova.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Elizabeth Kostova and her book The Swan Thieves
From nwi.com, Munster, IN --