When a book is so good I can't put it down, stay up till all hours reading it, I know I've found a treasure. At 2am I finished Elizabeth Kostova's The Swan Thieves and still couldn't sleep. The ending pages were so gripping that I lay awake thinking about it.
It starts with a man in the National Museum in Washinton trying to attack a painting with a pocket knife. Come to find out, he's a famous artist in his own right. When he's institutionalized a psychiatrist who is also an artist tries to find out why the man attacked the specific painting. The man refuses to talk, except for an occasional cryptic statement.
When the psychiatrist finds letters in the artist's room written in France in the late 19th Century he becomes obsessed with the case. The story is told from several parts of view as the psychiatrist finds clues about the woman the artist paints over and over again. His wife ? His mistress?
The clues are throughout the book, and I kept thinking, "Aha! THAT'S the mystery!" But I found there was always more to discover. This is a brilliant book from a woman whose first book, The Historian, was a best seller.
Let me know what you think