Thursday, March 04, 2010

An Evening with Elizabeth Kostova

Last night I had the opportunity to attend a book event at Eltham Library which featured Elizabeth Kostova, the author of The Historian, a New York Times best seller.

She is in Australia as a guest of Perth Writers Festival but is touring in a number of states promoting her new novel The Swan Thieves which purports to be a story about the nature of obsession as seen from the outside, and explores the world of art and art galleries.

Anyway she was in Melbourne last night in the outer northern suburb of Eltham.

The event was quiet and civilised and I suppose about 30 to 40 people were in attendance.

I was given a lift to the event by friends and we managed to get seats in the second row, so I was able to snap the above photo of the celebrated author.

Though I have not as yet read The Swan Thieves, I was impressed with The Historian when I read it back in 2005. It’s a literate vampire novel cum travelogue and takes the reader on a wild journey through exotic European localities hunting an elusive Vlad the Impaler. When it first came out it was dubbed the Da Vinci Code for the literati or some such thing.

I have never read, nor would I even consider reading , The Da Vinci Code or any Dan Brown novels, having being told by various friends, whose taste I respect, that it is a load of codswallop and extremely badly written.

Kostova’s The Historian, however is very well written and is both a leisurely, satisfying read and a page turning thriller.

Last night however she concentrated on her new novel and read several well chosen passages that certainly piqued my interest. She came across as an erudite, articulate person and was friendly to meet in person.

On the subject of best sellers, my current reading, for the past few weeks, has been the Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson. I’m onto the third book, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, and I must admit I’m riveted by the story and, moreover, have found the entire trilogy to be a compulsive reading experience, despite challenging my disbelief at times.


Kay Cooke said...

Thanks for this Anne. I will keep an eye out for her books ... I have no intention of ever reading Dan Brown either! Why is it bad writers are more popular and get more publicity?

Anne S said...

Urrgh bad writers appeal to the masses unfortunately.

Still, you don't have to read them and thankfully there are plenty of really good writers around.

Actually the Stieg Larsson books are really good.

Anonymous said...

And here is another non-Dan-Brown fan too. I have been intrigued by The historian as it had some good reviews when it came out, and have nearly bought it a couple of times. One day I probably will. It's great getting to hear authors like this isn't it? Did you get a book signed?

Anne S said...

Yes, Whispering Gums, I did get my copy of The Historian signed. I gave The Swan Thieves to my brother for his birthday, so intend to borrow it when he's finished with it, so didn't purchase it on the night.