I am enamored with Elizabeth Kostova's writing. Every scene and paragraph she writes is so well crafted, and I often find myself sighing after passageI am enamored with Elizabeth Kostova's writing. Every scene and paragraph she writes is so well crafted, and I often find myself sighing after passages that are particularly delicate and moving. I wonder how much time she put into making them just so, or maybe it's a talent that comes to her with ease. She's the kind of writer that has this effect on me: when she makes a subtle link back to a hint she made much, much earlier in a book, it makes me all the more motivated to be a careful, thoughtful reader. Tying these clues together is so satisfying; while every thread required to get to that point might be just a touch exhausting, it's well worth the effort for the sheer talent that Kostova has with her words and character storylines.
The Swan Thieves is elegant, understated, and a great romance story. I think these are also accurate of The Historian, but those who loved the latter for its plot will certainly find Thieves lacking. While The Swan Thieves does have a progressive narrative, it doesn't have that macabre, the darkness, the intensity that The Historian has, which was much more epic in proportion. The European settings, the gorgeous scene descriptions, the old-fashioned narrator are all here, but Thieves is a quiet book, one that I have thoroughly enjoyed on long, lazy Saturdays and on evenings with a glass of red wine (if you're that kind of reader, this is definitely the book to seek out).
By the end of the book, I really loved Marlow. He's such a trustworthy narrator, gentle and someone who makes a great therapist even from that narrator's role. I think I haven't read a book in some time with such a strong, honest protagonist, and tender moments between he and his father and his future wife occasionally had me tearing up. While I was encouraged to learn what would happen with the artist and patient, Robert, what really drove me to love the story was how much I wanted Marlow to find what he does not realize he is searching for: that is, a life with love, for which he has been patiently waiting on for quite some time.
Well done again, Ms. Kostova. You tell a grand tale, and I just need you to come out with your next book faster, please. However, if you're as careful with it as you are with your previous two books, then please feel free to take your time (just not too long)....more
I got sucked into this one. I started at 1 a.m., intending to read for about an hour to make myself fall asleep. How very false. Three hours later, II got sucked into this one. I started at 1 a.m., intending to read for about an hour to make myself fall asleep. How very false. Three hours later, I just closed the last page and had to stop myself from choking up with tears. What a mesmerizing, endearing tale, of a boy who lost his mother but found strength through his love of books. Most certainly a quick read, but I am so grateful that I took the time to read this. 4.5 stars would be my rating, but 4 will have to do. I have missed books like this.
I also would venture to say it could be cast into the young adult genre, so if you're looking for a challenging, mind-bending read, you'll not find it here so much. However, if you are looking for a charmer that will wrap you up for a rainy afternoon and a cup of tea (or the wee hours of the morning), this for sure will be a book I recommend. What is the fancy name for it? A buldingsroman? Exactly. A come-of-age tale that wraps up all your favorite fairy tales, Communist dwarves, and a little bit of Hilter thrown in for the World War II fan. It sort of reminds me of the film Pan's Labyrinth, actually, only told from the perspective of a lonely British boy who probably could use a little more imagination in his life - just like the rest of us readers, and Connolly delivers to the fullest....more
Lately, I have been attracted to the dark, macabre books of my library. This book certainly filled both of those qualifications, along with "extremelyLately, I have been attracted to the dark, macabre books of my library. This book certainly filled both of those qualifications, along with "extremely disturbing" and "books that make me cry." (Come to think of it, that last one should be a new shelf, since crying at the end of the book is something I have been doing a lot lately.)
This book is not for the faint of heart. Hansel and Gretel, although young and innocent, are possibly the most delicate yet wisest characters I have come across in many readings. However, some of the terrible, tragic circumstances they are forced to endure are so vivid that I physically squirmed. (I'm one of those people who can't stand the thought of having blood drawn. That is exactly how I felt during some events of this book - unfortunate for me but a compliment to the author for making me truly *feel* these horrors.)
I was captivated by Murphy's writing style: vivid and eloquent, yet traumatizing at all the right moments. I was very impressed with how she described World War II horrors without being unnecessarily gory or crass. The scenes still carried the right balance of emotion, and I was captivated by so many of the characters - whether they were victims or antagonists. This book left me so emotionally worn, yet I am genuinely glad I took the time to read it. Not only was it a quality piece, but it left me eager to read more of Murphy's work, to better understand Nazi occupation of Poland, and to seek out more texts in this era - not to mention I was completely satisfied with the story's telling. The only thing that really held me back from giving it five stars was because I felt some of the character back stories could have been better fleshed out, but then again that probably would have made the book 500 pages long. I also felt that outcome of some of the circumstances were a a little bit convenient, such as a few particular getaways. However, I feel survival during this time often hinged directly on the luck of the draw.
Still, this book was completely worth my time. I definitely feel that it complemented my reading of The Book of Lost Things completely, which is another book I must recommend that you check out....more