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That's when I saw that painting, behind his head. All blues and yellows and reddish brown, as translucent as lacquer. It had to be a Dutch master. Just then a private found a little kid covered with tablecloths behind some dishes in a sideboard cabinet. We'd almost missed him.By the end of "Love Enough," this first of eight interrelated stories tracing the history of "Girl in Hyacinth Blue," the painting's fate at the hands of guilt-riddled Engelbrecht fils is in question. Unfortunately, there is no doubt about the probable destiny of the previous owners, the Vredenburg family of Rotterdam, who take center stage in the powerful "A Night Different From All Other Nights." Vreeland handles this tale with subtlety and restraint, setting it at Passover, the year before the looting, and choosing to focus on the adolescent Hannah Vredenburg's difficult passage into adulthood in the face of an uncertain future. In the next story, "Adagia," she moves even further into the past to sketch "how love builds itself unconsciously ... out of the momentous ordinary" in a tender portrait of a longtime marriage. Back and back Vreeland goes, back through other owners, other histories, to the very inception of the painting in the homely, everyday objects of the Vermeer household--a daughter's glass of milk, a son's shirt in need of buttons, a wife's beloved sewing basket--"the unacknowledged acts of women to hallow home." Girl in Hyacinth Blue ends with the painting's subject herself, Vermeer's daughter Magdalena, who first sends the portrait out into the world as payment for a family debt, then sees it again, years later at an auction.
She thought of all the people in all the paintings she had seen that day, not just Father's, in all the paintings of the world, in fact. Their eyes, the particular turn of a head, their loneliness or suffering or grief was borrowed by an artist to be seen by other people throughout the years who would never see them face to face. People who would be that close to her, she thought, a matter of a few arms' lengths, looking, looking, and they would never know her.In this final passage, Susan Vreeland might be describing her own masterpiece as well as Vermeer's. --Alix Wilber --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
How sad but true that all the people saw and loved the painting but not the real girl. Interesting to trace the painting backward.Published 1 day ago by D. Gramse
To me, this book never "came together". Was it in chronological order? That would have made it less confusing. The last chapter should have been the first chapter. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Dixie Silcox
I did not like the premise of the book starting with the current owner of the painting and moving backwards and not tying characters together. Read morePublished 4 months ago by KES
A fascinating story with a unique presentation. Great history of trials people go through especially women.Published 5 months ago by Barbara Krieger
Moderately interesting. Slow moving. Well written. Did not generate a true oral picture of the painting.Published 5 months ago by razelle frankl
Good read. Not what I expected from reading several of the author's other books. A quick read.Published 6 months ago by Me
I read this years ago and I keep recommended it to friends. Each chapter tells an interesting story in the history of the painting in question. Read morePublished 6 months ago by MKI