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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 really think that when people read this book, they can immediately picture the whole story.
Chevalier has done for this painting what well researched historical fiction does for history: taken a beautiful painting from a museum and brought it to life.
Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier is an amazing book that brings the story behind the Vermeer painting to life.
Vermeer is the artist who created this painting of a young woman and this book explores how the portrait might have been created. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Clare O'Beara
Tells of the nobility of the indentured and the lack of scruples and compassion of some ofthe moneyed classes. Have things changed much?Published 11 days ago by rosa Hernandez
The author definitely has a talent for bringing you into the characters world. I had high expectations so it may not have been the books fault for not meeting them but all in all a... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Heather
Story was interesting and vivid.
Enjoyed the true to life time era plot of working class people. Recommend this book.
Tracy Chevalier has become one of my all time favorite authors. She draws the reader into the story as though one is actually living in the moment.Published 1 month ago by Beverly Graves
Great book , well worth reading I thought a little more would happen between Griet and her master, but maybe less is best!Published 1 month ago by kc