His portrait of the anonymous Girl with a Pearl Earring has exerted a particular fascination for centuries – and it is this magnetic painting that lies at the heart of Tracy Chevalier’s second novel of the same title. I was chopping vegetables in the kitchen when I heard voices outside our front door—a woman’s, bright as polished brass, and a man’s, low and dark like the wood of the table I was working on. Subscribe to receive some of our best reviews, "beyond the book" articles, book club info, and giveaways by email. Maria Thins. Yet Vermeer’s extraordinary paintings of domestic life, with their subtle play of light and texture, have come to define the Dutch golden age. The young maid, however, seems devoted only to her master and obeys his every wish. It was not that we avoided them, but they kept to themselves. “And there were long shadows in the water, and tiny people on the shore nearest us.”. This book is very readable. “Are they laid out in the order in which they will go into the soup?” he suggested, studying the circle. It is however very well written, well described and the detail of each painting - the colours, the composition is accomplished. “You’d best come in, then,” she said after a moment. Though gripping, even moving at times, the novel doesn’t do justice to the solemn history from which it is drawn. (Also really liked the 2003 film starring Colin Firth and Scarlet Johansson. Seeing the cover makes me want to read it again! “Is that your brother or your sister?”. “His name is Johannes. Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 6, 2011. Father had taken us up it once. Girl with a pearl earring. “You can come home Sundays. I hugged my mother and Agnes. When Griet becomes a maid in the household of the painter Johannes Vermeer, she thinks she knows her role: housework, laundry, and the care of his six children. Greit and Johannes understood each other. Tracy Chevalier transports readers to a bygone time and place in this richly-imagined portrait of the young woman who inspired one of Vermeer's most celebrated paintings. It was also nice to get a glimpse into the life and mind of a common girl. “No, I’ll go.” Cornelia jumped up and ran ahead of her older sister, leaving me alone with the two quieter girls. I found the book far more satisfying than the film although having seen the film I did find it easier to visualise settings and characters. “What have you been doing here, Griet?” he asked. That’s as nothing, though, to the storm that sweeps the house and all but brings about Griet’s very ruin when Catharine discovers that the base-born maid has committed the thieving travesty of wearing her pearl earrings. Her nose was bulbous and irregular, and her thick lips were pushed together to form a small mouth. It was my favorite tile of his. Courageous Griet, though, proves herself a survivor in this tenderhearted and sharp-eyed ramble through daily life—and high art—in 17th-century Delft. influencers in the know since 1933. by “Aleydis,” I said, extending my hand to the youngest girl, “will you show me where to get water from the canal?”. So the parts when Vermeer was actually being a painter were interesting. I found the prose artificially concise (as if she had purposely limited her vocabulary by a factor of ten, or as if the narrator was Dutch but just learning English), the characters completely flat and unbelievable, and the rise in drama both ill-explained and uninteresting. He looked exhausted and had burns up and down his arms from pulling tiles from the kiln. Definitely a worth see. Read 38 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. I filled the other pot again and carried it inside, turning my head so that the girls could not see my face. Griet is a very quiet but perceptive and intelligent girl, I found myself agreeing with all of her thoughts and observations. We crossed the street, Cornelia and Lisbeth following. I love this painting, but I have not read this book yet. Major Characters: Johannes Vermeer, Griet, Pieter van Ruijven, Catharina Bolnes, Maria Thins, Tanneke, Pieter (Girl with a pearl earring), Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, Theme: Envy, Religion, Desire, Creativity, Work, Class and Power, Narrator: First Person by a sixteen-year-old girl named Griet. . Agnes was the most frightened. He told me he worked from dawn until so late that at times he was too tired even to eat. Magazine Subscribers (How to Find Your Reader Number). Alyssa Palombo's The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence vividly captures the dangerous allure of the artist and muse bond with candor and unforgettable passion. On my left the canal ran parallel to the street, separating it from Market Square. “That’s enough prattle,” the woman declared. —The Wall Street Journal, "Chevalier has so vividly imagined the life of the painter and his subject. And this is Aleydis.” The youngest smiled at me. I took one of the pots inside and back to the cooking kitchen, where I built up the fire, filled the copper kettle, and put it on to heat. Their bed was hung with green silk curtains. It is about a girl who goes to be a maid for a painter and gets caught up in the families lives. He loves only those things that fit into his sense of light and shape and color and tone. Search String: Summary | She possesses the laudable ability to maneuver 17th century Delft in a shrewd and practical manner while still retaining her love of art; finding beauty in even mundane things. Cornelia and Aleydis were chasing bubbles. The novel centers on Griet, the Protestant daughter of a Delft tile painter who lost his sight in a kiln accident. My mother’s voice—a cooking pot, a flagon—approached from the front room. They had been hung carelessly, bunched in places so that patches of cloth were still damp. “But he is a good gentleman, and fair. GENERAL SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY The woman stopped, making an effort to quiet herself. She was always neat and meticulous about the way her master wanted things. Housed in a splendid 17th-century palace in The Hague, the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis is home to some of the world's most beloved paintings--including Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring--and has become a destination for art enthusiasts from around the world. In the morning he asked me to come up in the afternoon. I filled the pots and carried them to the top of the steps. “Chopping vegetables, sir. “Drop your things there now and you can sort yourself out later.”. All rights reserved. In our favorite game, one of us chose a point and one of us named a thing—a stork, a church, a wheelbarrow, a flower—and we ran in that direction looking for that thing. Griet was an innocent young girl hired by the Vermeer family as a maid. Readalikes | Reviewed in the United States on January 8, 2018. “We have to, now your father has lost his trade.”, “On the Oude Langendijck, where it intersects with the Molenpoort.”. Tanneke leaned towards me and whispered, “You’ll be cleaning in there, which the young mistress will explain to you later. Master storyteller Ben Macintyre tells the true story behind the Cold War's most intrepid female spy. Another one of my wife's recommendations (I read a lot of books that way), I picked it up from the bookshelf the night we came back from seeing the film with Scarlett Johansonn and Colin Firth. It was one thing to do this for a blind man, though. She is Catharina’s mother, I thought suddenly. Though her lined face was stern her light brown eyes seemed amused. But Cornelia followed close behind me as I carried the pots down the steps. It's not something I would normally pick up to read myself as I'm more of a non fiction reader. From the front of the house the New Church tower was visible just across the canal. This book is a great read. Is an engrossing work told in the first person by the girl herself, a poor girl who is sent out to be a servant in the house of the Dutch artist Vermeer. I must admit that I opened this novel expecting to utterly detest the lies it weaves. I've been hearing good things about this book for years. The story is paced like you'd expect to see if reading someone's journal. If she had sulked or shouted, I would know I had mastered her. His portrai. GIRL WITH PEARL EARRING is a beautiful story, engaging, well-drawn characters, art and historically interesting. The same thing could easily happen to them. Girl with a Pearl Earring book. I know that I had to constantly pull up images of his paintings as I read to actually see what Griet was describing. They were the kind of voices we heard rarely in our house. All of our family, even my father and brother, were small. I'll admit that I always thought the title painting a tad over-rated, but upon seeing it in the flesh (in the canvas?) Refresh and try again. He had a long, angular face, and his expression was steady, in contrast to his wife’s, which flickered like a candle. I recognized the man poling from earlier that day—he had delivered his load of bricks and the boat was riding much higher. That was the painter, Vermeer. Something we hope you'll especially enjoy: FBA items qualify for FREE Shipping and Amazon Prime. And they had not been shaken first, so there were creases everywhere. The house where I was to work was just ten minutes from home, the time it took a pot of water to boil, but I had never passed by it. Prime members enjoy FREE Delivery and exclusive access to music, movies, TV shows, original audio series, and Kindle books. And another expected. Dec 1999, 240 pages Beautifully written and read aloud, this is an imagining of the possible life of the girl depicted in Vermeer's lovely painting. The pot I had left was missing. And Johannes though he makes little money through painting he stays with what he loves. Most given the book's title and cover will assume the book is all about Vermeer's painting and although that is at the centre of the story, it is ultimately only the backdrop. Girl With a Pearl Earring tells a short story using a lot of words. Aleydis obediently took a step back. Greit was a strong level headed girl who was able to navigate the tricky and yes dangerous life she had to lead as maid. We don’t share your credit card details with third-party sellers, and we don’t sell your information to others. As we gathered my things she explained why I was to work for the Vermeers. This shopping feature will continue to load items when the Enter key is pressed. The Vermeer family, with the exception of the painter himself, Love this story, love Vermeer's work. The descriptions are beautiful.
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