Thursday, March 31, 2016

Inspired by Reading: The Swan Thieves

This month's Inspired by Reading Book Club selection is The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova.  It's a whopper of a book weighing in at 564 pages so it was a struggle to get it finished in time.  It read amazingly fast (at least for me... I was pretty absorbed!) but it's still much lengthier than our usual book club choices.  I didn't quite make it all the way through, but (at page 536) I'm soooo close!   Luckily, inspiration struck at page 432... but I'll get to that in a minute.  (UPDATE: I did actually finish last night right before bed!)

The novel tells the story of troubled artist Robert Oliver and the psychiatrist, Andrew Marlow, who is trying to help him and unravel the mystery of how Oliver came to be institutionalized and under his care.  All we really know at first is that Oliver was arrested after trying to attack a painting in a museum.  The story unfolds from multiple viewpoints, at first mostly through Marlow's eyes, but eventually includes Oliver's ex-wife and former lover.  As things progress, we also slowly get a story from the late 1800's woven into the fabric of the novel by way of love letters and more. 

As usual, I struggle with talking about my impressions of the book without giving too much away.  I truly enjoyed the way the author wove all the components of the story together and oh so slowly started bringing the pieces together.  The mystery elements really drew me in and kept my brain working trying to tease things out.    

In this massive tome filled with descriptions of artists and their artwork... what jumped out at me and inspired my creation this month was really just a tiny, offhand description.  As Mary is describing the first decline of her relationship with Robert along with the changing of the seasons to autumn she says "The ginkgo leaves in my neighborhood turned into yellow crepe paper"

For some reason that line just struck me.  I have always loved ginkgo trees and knew exactly the color she was describing... not only that, I knew just the beads to use in that particular shade of yellow.  I have no idea what these gems are (please let me know in the comments if you know them!) as I got them unmarked from a friend's destash but the color is so yummy.  I'm going to be sad when I use up the last of my little hoard of them.  I was originally planning on a necklace but I couldn't for the life of me find the copper plated ginkgo pendant that I swore that I had.  I tore through most of my messy work space more than once to no avail so I moved onto plan B... earrings!  (Anybody shocked?)  Here they are!

With as much as I enjoyed reading The Swan Thieves, I'm definitely going to put Kostova's first novel, The Historian, on my reading list!


  1. Beautiful! Yummy yellow beads! Love the passage you picked!

  2. Very cute earrings. I love ginkgo leaves. My sister gave me The Historian, so it's also on my list!

  3. That line illustrated the failing affair so perfectly! Those yellow beads are ideal with the ginkgo charms.