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Girl with a Pearl Earring centers on Vermeer's prosperous Delft household during the 1660s. When Griet, the novel's quietly perceptive heroine, is hired as a servant, turmoil follows. First, the 16-year-old narrator becomes increasingly intimate with her master. Then Vermeer employs her as his assistant--and ultimately has Griet sit for him as a model. Chevalier vividly evokes the complex domestic tensions of the household, ruled over by the painter's jealous, eternally pregnant wife and his taciturn mother-in-law. At times the relationship between servant and master seems a little anachronistic. Still, Girl with a Pearl Earring does contain a final delicious twist.
Throughout, Chevalier cultivates a limpid, painstakingly observed style, whose exactitude is an effective homage to the painter himself. Even Griet's most humdrum duties take on a high if unobtrusive gloss:
I came to love grinding the things he brought from the apothecary--bones, white lead, madder, massicot--to see how bright and pure I could get the colors. I learned that the finer the materials were ground, the deeper the color. From rough, dull grains madder became a fine bright red powder and, mixed with linseed oil, a sparkling paint. Making it and the other colors was magical.In assembling such quotidian particulars, the author acknowledges her debt to Simon Schama's classic study The Embarrassment of Riches. Her novel also joins a crop of recent, painterly fictions, including Deborah Moggach's Tulip Fever and Susan Vreeland's Girl in Hyacinth Blue. Can novelists extract much more from the Dutch golden age? The question is an open one--but in the meantime, Girl with a Pearl Earring remains a fascinating piece of speculative historical fiction, and an appealingly new take on an old master. --Jerry Brotton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I am a sucker for a period piece, and Tracy Chevalier does them right. Sweeping yet meticulous portrait of Griet and Vermeer's life in Delft. Heartbreaker.Published 20 hours ago by Christin M. Mulligan
Actually, I had seen part of the movie and decided to read the book so I could understand better. Great story about the connection between people irregardless of class, it's about... Read morePublished 15 days ago by tam
I enjoyed the gimmpses into the history of the period, as well as insight into human nature.Published 25 days ago by marjo
A simple teenaged girl from a poor family is forced into service in a more prosperous 17th-Century Delft household. Read morePublished 26 days ago by Lance Charnes
Another portrayal of complex relationships . Many present day women can identify some of their own experiences with dominating men.Published 1 month ago by Kindle Customer