The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova Giveaway

Posted 25 September, 2009 by Molly(Cover To Cover Cafe) in Book Reviews / 25 Comments

WOW! Another wonderful giveaway here at my blog!Thanks to Valerie over at Hachette Books I have TWO copies for TWO lucky people!!! *Stay tuned at the bottom of this blog for rules of entry!*

About the book:
Late one night, exploring her father’s library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters addressed ominously to ‘My dear and unfortunate successor’. Her discovery plunges her into a world she never dreamed of — a labyrinth where the secrets of her father’s past and her mother’s mysterious fate connect to an evil hidden in the depths of history.

An adventure of monumental proportions, blending fact and fantasy, history and the present with an assurance that is almost unbearably suspensful, THE HISTORIAN is utterly unforgettable.

       About the Author:
Elizabeth Kostova (née Johnson) was born in New London, Connecticut in 1964, and now lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She graduated from Yale and holds an MFA from the University of Michigan where she won the Hopwood Award for the Novel-in-Progress. The Historian took her ten years to write, and was inspired by the vampire stories told to her by her father, a professor of urban planning, during the year they spent in Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia (where her father taught at the university) when she was seven, and as they traveled through Europe.

Later, she says, “I wondered whether this would make a good structure for a novel …. At the end of each of these tales, the young listener realizes that Dracula himself is listening to the story. Then I got the chills and immediately began working on the book.” When asked about her personal beliefs she confirms that she does not believe in vampires and has a very scientific outlook on life, However, she does believe in the power of myth in the human psyche.

She says that she based much of the book in Bulgaria because her husband, Georgi Kostov, is Bulgarian. She met Georgi in 1989 while on a fellowship from Yale to study village music in Eastern Europe. She arrived in Bulgaria at a time of great change – only seven days after Communist dictator Todor Zhivkov had been placed under house arrest; Georgi was one of the first 100 Bulgarians to be granted a passport. She traveled to isolated villages in Bulgaria, Bosnia and south-west Russia, not only recording traditional music but also witnessing rituals dating back to the Middle Ages.

She says “Those journeys gave me a sense of a world that’s closer to a European past and was preserved by the creation of the Iron Curtain. It preserved the mystery of Eastern Europe for the rest of us. I tried to express that as a love story, the bridging of these two worlds, east and west. I’ve realized that there is, of course, a certain autobiographical flavor to it.”

Another inspiration for her were the lectures she attended at Yale by Professor, Vincent Scully, “one of the great professors of the twentieth century”. Kostova, who traveled extensively in Eastern and Western Europe before starting to write The Historian and speaks Bulgarian “pretty well”, and used to speak French “quite well, but has got rusty”, says “his ardor up on the stage about some of the great architectural and art sights of Western Europe made me go to those places as soon as I could save money from my bookstore job or mowing lawns or whatever I was doing.”

The USA book rights for The Historian were sold for $2 million, and it has been or will be published in at least 37 different languages. Movie rights sold for $1.5 million – the movie, produced by Douglas Wick (Memoirs of a Geisha, Gladiator etc) is currently in production and scheduled for release in 2007.

Little is known about her next project, other than that she says it is very different to The Historian and “not Gothic”; she started work on it just after she sold The Historian. In a 2005 interview she said “I felt it was important for me to get back to writing right away — to draw that magic, private circle again. I’ve been sitting on the subject matter, as the project is still fragile and raw and I don’t want to jinx the writing process. It does involve history again, but in a completely different way.”

Her favorite books include Middlemarch, and books by Henry James, Thomas Hardy and Wilkie Collins.

                                  *CONTEST RULES*
                             Contest is open to residents of the US and Canada ONLY 
                              I will be emailing the winners so please sure and leave your email address in this form:
                                   *Rules of Entry*
                                    Leave a comment on this post and tell me what you find interesting about
                                    this author.
                                         *Contest Ends October 8th @6pm*



25 responses to “The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova Giveaway

  1. Jo-Jo

    I find it interesting that she has a scientific outlook on life, but still believes in the power of myths.

    joannelong74 AT gmail DOT com

  2. Jennifer

    I find it interesting that she drew inspiration from the vampire stories her father used to tell her. It makes the book that much more intriguing to read.

    knittingmomof3 AT gmail DOT com

  3. Marian

    I find it interesting – and inspiring – that she got back to writing right away. Too many people want the cachet of being “published authors” rather than the work (and joy) of writing.

    Marian – mdperera at hotmail dot com

  4. holdenj

    I didn’t know it was such a labor of love, writing The Historian, by taking ten years. That’s quite an accomplishment.

  5. Madeleine

    I admire the author for spending 10 years with her novel and not giving up, this is courageous.

    Please enter me in this giveaway and thank-you


  6. rubynreba

    Little is known about her next project but she says it will be very different.

  7. Mary Ann DeBorde

    Mary D
    zenri57 (at) hotmail (dot) com

    I think it’s wonderful that she and her father traveled Europe, and that she kept on working on her book for 10 years – that is dedication and strength!
    The Historian sounds like a very commendable book and I am drooling for a chance to win a copy 🙂 Thanks to both of you ladies for the chance!

  8. edmontonjb

    I find it interesting that she spend ten years on the book. That makes me think the characters will be very well developed.

  9. Irene Yeates

    To write a book within the context of a country where you once lived, and now, have deeper connection with, because your husband’s personal history originates there is very fascinating to me. Elizabeth had her own insights, her father’s stories, and her husband’s history to draw upon in what is by all accounts a captivating read.
    I also liked her comment: “…the power of the myth in the human psyche.” I was born in Eastern Europe, and also learned many tales and myths from family members. Without realizing it, I often feel myself shaking off negative vibes from one or another of those myths.
    I would love to enter your giveaway. Thank you for hosting it.

    cyeates AT nycap DOT rr DOT com

  10. Tanyia

    I too love that her next project will be so different. I am SO tired of re-reading the same book with the same endings from authors, and yearn for something that leaves me enthralled! I would love to try this book!


  11. Bethie

    Please enter me. Thanks for the chance. I found it interesting that the novel is based on the Vampire stories her father used to tell her and that she lived in Slovenia.

    lizzi0915 at aol dot com

  12. Haleyknitz

    I think it’s cool that she speaks french. i am learning french, it’s a beautiful language

    i’m a follower by rss and google 😀


  13. Anonymous

    she was committed to write this book…10 years seems like a long time to write a book.

    karen k

  14. Luvdaylilies

    Wow, very interesting that it took 10 Years for her to finish this book, What dedication!
    I’d Love to read this!

  15. Anonymous

    The author, Ms. Kostova, is a fascinating person. I find it interesting how much her travels as child and exposure to world abroad affected her later life and openness of mind. I also find it immensely interesting that she made a concerted effort to catalogue and study ancient practices, music and such just as the Iron Curtain was falling and before Western culture over-rode it all.

    Please accept this as my entry. Thank you!

    Aliya D.

  16. booklover0226

    To dedicate onself to write a book is one thing; but for 10 years, that is truly amazing.

    Tracey D

  17. Marjorie

    I am a follower and would like to win this
    book, it sounds very interesting.

    cenya2 at hotmail dot com

  18. Paradox

    I’m fascinated that she wrote worked on The Historian for 10 years!

    paradoxrevealed (at) aim (dot) com

  19. Lory

    I am especially interested in the psychological and social perspectives the daughter will face as she learns about her history. My work with teenagers and churches makes me particularly interested in this type of framework in writing.


  20. Jessica

    I find it interesting that she was able to study abroad learning and teaching about music. I also find it amazing that it took her 10 years to complete this book, it must take alot of passion for writing to stay dedicated to it.


Cover To Cover Cafe Loves Comments!