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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.
Wonderful book which is very well written and has deep character growth. Chevalier takes you on a journey through the eyes of this young girl and the difficulties she faces as she... Read morePublished 13 days ago by H. Frank
Beautiful novel. Loved the character of Griet and I loved the movie too, despite the differences between it and the novel.Published 28 days ago by Dex Cotton
Good book, good plot. Much more that i expected. I wanted more foem the ending, but realuzed later that it was enoughPublished 1 month ago by Nicole Johnson
very good book, the author deals with the devastating subject of The Plaque through very unique eyes, one of my favorites.Published 1 month ago by NW reader
Chevalier took Vermeer’s painting, Girl With a Pearl Earring, studied his work and what little is known about the artist himself and created a story about how the painting came to... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Joyce